Belva’s Blue Platter: A Story of Redemption

This summer I said to Robynn “Any time you’re ready to write more for Communicating Across Boundaries I’m ready to have you!” I meant every word of it. While I can’t make promises for Robynn, we may hear more from her this fall on CAB. For now enjoy this beautiful story of how loving care and vision restored a platter.

Belvas platter 2

Belva’s Blue Platter: A story of Redemption by Robynn

This summer when we were sorting out my mother in law’s kitchen, a blue and gold trimmed platter was pulled out of a cupboard. Who wanted this? My mother in law dismissed it with a chuckle. With mom coming to live with us I imagined I would now be the one cooking the Thanksgiving and the Christmas Turkey. Mom often had the platter carry the sacred meat to the feast. I would take the blue platter. It could continue to serve its purpose. I asked my mother in law to tell us the story of the platter. Where did it come from?  That’s when we learned of the mud-hidden, basement-buried treasure that she had found all those years ago.

Nearly twenty years have passed since my mother in law and her three sisters in law cleaned out the old farm-house where her in-laws had lived and raised their family. The women sorted and divided, they purged and pitched. It was an enormous job and emotional work. Stories were told. Memories were dusted off and placed on the table before being packed away again. Knowing the four of them, I know they cried and they laughed until they cried, while they worked.

In the basement of that tired old house, my mother in law, Belva, discovered buried under years of dirt and dust, a forgotten platter. Mysteriously it was caked in mud. She took it upstairs and washed it off. To her delight, a blue bordered, gold trimmed china platter came to life under the washing water. Assuming it was a family heirloom, she asked Lois, Coralee or Carol if they’d like to have it. They waved her off and she tucked the platter into her pile of things to bring to Kansas.

No one is quite clear on where that platter came from. Grandma Bliss evidently wasn’t too attached to it for it to end up buried in the basement. One sister-in-law, Coralee thought maybe Grandpa bought it from the Ravenna flea market. Apparently Grandma was always a little disgusted by the amount of “treasures” he’d cart home from his weekly expedition to the market. Another sister-in-law, Carol mused that perhaps it had come from a neighbouring abandoned farm, when Grandpa had purchased the entire estate. No one really knows and neither Grandpa nor Grandma are around to confirm the plate’s past.

This is the story of redemption. Lives are covered in sorrow and bitter circumstances. Pearls are hidden in salty mire and hardened exteriors. Jewels are deeply entombed in the dark earth. Love sees potential and redeems. Gently, tenderly, under the faucet of grace, love washes away the dirt and darkness and reveals glorious blues and gold trims. The platter was tossed aside until Belva picked it up. She recognized the potential, she did the work of restoring it and she welcomed it to the table.

I like this story. It means something to me these days. The platter is now displayed with joy in our dining room. The 24 carat gold reflects the sunlight streaming through the windows, patiently waiting for the holidays when it will be needed. The platter speaks to me of purpose. It whispers quietly of hope. It inspires me to hold on to the promise of redemption.

And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—
secret riches.
I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. Isaiah 45:3

4 thoughts on “Belva’s Blue Platter: A Story of Redemption

  1. Robynn, you gave this platter, that had more mystery than a story, a real story to carry it through the next generation, and even the next. A treasured heirloom, once covered in grime and mud, now shines with simple beauty and rich meaning. I love that Christ can do the same with us. What and where we were is not what and where we are now, and we are not what and where we are going to be.


    1. Kendra! I’m so glad you popped by the blog today. What a blessing you are to me! And I love how you said it, “What and where we were is not what and where we are now, and we are not what and where we are going to be!” Come by and have tea with me one day please and I’ll pull out the platter and we’ll put out some cookies!


  2. Robynn, I love this story, and now the once discarded platter will become a family heirloom passed on to one of your kids or grandkids. I wish I could know your mother-in-law. Who knows? We might even be kindred spirits! But Kansas is very far away from upstate NY. This also reminds me that I have a platter from my Mom that I should pass on to one of our grandchildren.


    1. The Passing of the Platters! We’ve started a new tradition Auntie Polly! Thank you for commenting today. You would love my mother in law. She has a great sense of humour. She’s kind hearted and flexible. Her faith is strong and her courage great. I love her. And her platter too.


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