I have a big, blue, flat bottomed mug emblazoned with a tie wearing flamingo. “Awkward as flock,” reads the multi-colored text around the flamingo. My daughter bought it for me. I felt seen.
It’s a bit wider at the base than top so won’t tip over no matter how awkwardly I sit it down. Even when I balance it amongst the shambles of sheets, to drink coffee from, while I write in bed, I can trust it to be stable. I have another, similarly solid mug. It was made by a friend of a friend whose name I’ve forgotten, but every time I see the mug’s Cookie Monster eyes and rough blue finish I am returned to the day we met. Both of these mugs are, frankly, quite ugly. But they are solid and stable and recently got me to thinking about the realities of shiny versus stable.
Stability and strength is rarely shiny. Stability is not sexy on the surface- it is not a pretty package with an easy answer. It is gained through hardships and buckling down. It arrives at the end of mistakes and scars taken by embracing the shiny- believing there can be an easy road in life. Shiny is fleeting and fragile. True power is in the faded and worn that can only be arrived at after a long road. Stability and strength- that power that can’t be tipped over- is beautiful because of what it has lost which is actually everything gained.