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Disheveled Theologian: Eggcups of the world, unite

When I was a little girl, I had a napkin collection. Every time I was at a party or event that had a paper napkin I found particularly pretty, I’d do everything I could to not ruin it by wiping my mouth on it’s papery beauty. I’m pretty sure my sleeves suffered as a result.

The first napkin in my collection I acquired long after the party it was printed for. It came from some obscure corner of the dining room hutch and had my parents’ names and the date of their wedding stamped in silver on a scalloped-edged dainty white napkin.I thought it was beautiful. From there, the napkins piled up. Weddings, anniversaries, baby showers, birthdays — it didn’t matter, I just loved them. The fancier and more flowery, the better.

It was an inexpensive hobby. For me, at least. Perhaps less so for the host, though I never took more than just the one I was allotted! I wanted to sometimes, though, so I could wipe my mouth!

I don’t remember when I disposed of my paper napkin collection. But I do remember thinking, as I did so, that even though the embossed napkins with wedding dates were kinda cool, they were, after all, just something meant for the dustbin, and the expense of personalizing a napkin seemed a little silly. Even if they were scalloped-edged with silver writing.

I have collected various other things over the years, but nothing with as much passion as my eggcups. (Yes. It appears that I like to collect rather random things.) The first eggcup in my collection came from Harrods department store in London. I went there on a school trip my junior year in high school.

We didn’t have more than just a few minutes to run into the famous store and give it a quick look. The door we entered led us straight into the housewares department, and right in front of the door was a beautiful set of china. There was only one thing I could afford in the display, and I fell in love with the red flowered eggcup.

I don’t know exactly why I began collecting them after that, but I have taken great joy in adding eggcups from places I’ve visited, from friends and family who have given them as gifts, from various antique shops and yes, even a few online visits to eBay over the years.

And of course, what’s an eggcup without an egg? So I’ve started collecting eggs, too, though most of mine are just blown ones I’ve saved from year to year which are both inexpensive and fun to dye and decorate. Some of the eggs were made by my kids or felted by my sister, and several, I admit, aren’t eggs at all but dried tiny gourds or even egg-shaped rocks. Two are egg-shaped maracas I swiped from my son about 18 years ago, and two others are plastic dinosaurs inside clear plastic eggs. I kind of love those silly dinosaur eggs.

I’d love someday to have a wooden darning egg, but I haven’t been able to find one. Part of the fun of collecting is the hunt, yes?

Whenever Lent rolls around, it’s time to pull out the eggs and their cups. I put away the winter-themed decorations and set up the eggs — all 80 plus of them. Not all of them are “real” eggcups; quite a few are repurposed. I have “borrowed” my daughter’s mini Ikea plastic goblets, multi-purposed a tiny teacup, used a couple toothpick holders, and I’m pretty sure that one or two are vintage optometrist eye wash cups.

It must be admitted that my eggcups and their nested eggs make rather a hodgepodge of Easter decorations. They’re a collection of memories, of travels, of gifts, of crafts, of laughter, of creativity.

Kinda like you and me. We are all collections of experiences, of antique parts and tarnished silver. Of shiny glass and faded plastic. We hold sublime and fragile works of art as well as stones from the seashore. We are beautiful, and we are rustic. We are conglomerations of heartbreak and faithfulness. We are works in progress, blessed by the hands of God.

We none of us are perfect, and we none of us are complete. We’re still under construction. Kinda like my collection. I consider a year without at least one new eggcup to be a wasted year! Likewise, a year without personal growth would be a shame. Allow yourselves to be changed. To grow and expand and embrace. That’s how God’s workmanship is displayed in you.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV