Out of Place

There’s a single juice glass in my cupboard. I bought it with three others a decade ago, when larger glasses were too big for my four year old son’s grasp. It’s four and a half inches tall, with a seven-sided lower half and a circular top edge. There’s a fancy cursive “L” on the bottom. It’s sturdy, well balanced, and hard to knock over.

This leftover juice glass has no place among the glasses in current use. My son is well past needing miniature glasses, and it’s too breakable to use at the bathroom sink. It’s not worth any money and I have no important memories associated with it. Yet, it’s still here, out of place and alone.

Out of its original place and filled with modest chive flowers, it is a perfect centerpiece on the dinner table – too short to block anyone’s view or conversation, too narrow to be a hindrance when passing dishes, too solid to be knocked over by a careless hand. With a handful of daisies, it fits on the narrow shelves in my living room, and doesn’t tip when the cats pass by with flicking tails. It casts a rainbow when the sun hits it just right.

Out of place isn’t something I like be. It’s uncomfortable to be a loner among a group of like-minded and socially related people; it’s disconcerting when talents, appearance, and meaningful purpose are no longer useful or particularly appealing to the larger group. But being out of place, no longer in like company, may be the only way to grow past my past self. To every thing there is a season, and seasons change. Holding onto one particular season in my life, insisting that I am limited to one particular use or identity, won’t keep me from being out of place. What it will block is a future beyond it, where I hold beauty and find my place at the table and on the shelf. Sturdy and casting rainbows is a wonderful new reality, unseen when out of place but surely on the other side.Photo on 9-30-15 at 3.07 PM

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

2 thoughts on “Out of Place”

  1. Beautiful! Sometimes it helps me to remember when I’m not fitting in, I’m not supposed to. Out of place is where I need to be–that’s what is fitting.

    1. Thanks for your words, Bill. We are all out of place at some point – and I think it usually leads to something unexpected…peace, Johnna

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