Reclaim, Restore, Upcycle these are all very trendy and fashionable terms these days. Maybe they were subconsciously in the back of my mind when I was cleaning out the hall closet. I was rearranging shelves and trying to put away Christmas decorations when I spied this little cup all black with tarnish. I know this cup....I have moved it around the closet many times before. It is one of those things you cannot throw or give away but you do not want, so you move it and move it and move it . Meanwhile it gets darker and darker and darker.
I know the reason why I can't get rid of the cup and I know the reason I don't want the cup. The cup bears three sets of initials with a year underneath each set: RWC 1924; my father's initials and the year he was born; JGC 1945, my brother; and JCC 1969 his son. This was my father's and brother's baby cup.
The initials are the reason why the cup has been hidden and become so tarnished. They represent three lives that were tarnished and filled with pain. Father and son were hard core Marines that went off to war very early in life and spent the rest of their days drinking away the pain of those wars. They died ugly deaths and left those who loved them with nothing but sadness and loss. The third set of initials was lost to the family at six months of age due to divorce and then came suddenly back for one painful weekend eighteen years later, only to reveal that the alcoholism had claimed another generation. The initials and who they represented, was the cup to me and so I hid it, moved it and forgot it.
On this cleaning day, however, a thought came to me out of somewhere...polish it! Yes maybe it was an upcycle/restore/reclaim kind of thought. What does this look like besides the initials? Is there more to the cup than those dates? So I got the silver polish and went to work. I should have taken a "before" picture as the cup was so black with tarnish you could not see the initials or dates. It took quite some time and a lot of elbow grease to rub away all those years of neglect but as I polished an amazing thing happened. For the first time ever I began to see the beauty and the value of the cup itself.
The cup is sterling silver and has the mark stamped on the bottom. There is a whimsical sweetness about this baby cup and years of patina I could never have seen with all the tarnish on it. Small dents made me realize a little hand had held this, banged it, and drank from it. The handle has a wonderful design, which let me know this cup was chosen with love for my father. What I am trying to say is there was so much more to the cup than what I thought! After the tarnish was gone there was a beautiful vessel of sterling quality marked by its maker and reclaimed from its corruptible state.
The cup wasn't about me upcycling an old object from my closet. It was a reclamation and restoration of my heart. For years all I saw in the cup and the people it represented was tarnish but today I see a deeper beauty, something the Lord saw and knew all along. He was their maker and to Him they were a precious vessel and because He is a great God I can have hope.
The cup is no longer hidden in my closet forgotten and tarnished. It has been reclaimed and restored to a place where its beauty can reflect the light and bring joy not sadness. It is a great reminder that there is far more to a human being created in the image of God than the ugly tarnish of sin. I was given a gift of grace to lovingly polish a silver cup while in reality God was polishing my heart....and showing me just how amazing and wonderful He is.