Life lessons learned from a mug

When I was 13, I received a mug as a gift from my new step-mother. On the mug are four cows with grass and a fence. The phrase “…grass is greener over there…” is printed all around the bottom circumference of the mug. Its a cute mug. But as a snotty 13 year old, I certainly had a difficult time appreciating its sentiment.

A mug? Really?

17 years later, my sentiments for that mug have changed considerably. Yes, I still have the mug, and I find myself preferring it to most of the others in my cupboard. It fits my hands just so, and like the way the little glue-filled crack at the bottom of the handle rubs on my pinky, reminding me that I took the time once to fix it after it took a tumble.

I know now why my dear step-mother gifted me the mug. Because she was smarter than I was. How many teenagers do you know who have not compared their life to someone who supposedly has it better than them? I definitely did my fair share of that! Is the grass really greener over there? Maybe…but not likely. Because in my experience, the reality of the “green-ness” of the grass doesn’t matter. It is all about your perception of the grass.

I love that mug because it reminds me that despite what the grass looks like on my side of the fence, its up to me to nourish it and make it the greenest it can be. I cannot help but reflect on William Earnest Henley’s poem:


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I am grateful for this gentle reminder my little cow mug offers me each time I hold a steamy cup of tea between my hands.
The grass may be greener over there, but “I am the captain of my own soul.”

3 thoughts on “Life lessons learned from a mug

  1. Pingback: Saving your life, one coconut at a time « The Sycamore

  2. True. That’s what I’ve been saying to my friends sometimes. Especially when the whole move was coming up. I think they felt I moved because I thought the grass is greener here then it was there. But I told them I am sure it’s just a different green – and I need to figure out which shade I prefer.

  3. I LOVE that poem. I hadn’t heard it until I saw the movie (Invictus), but it just resonated so strongly with me. Sometimes it feels like life is happening TO me and I lose sight of the control I have. Even if I can’t control the circumstances I find myself in, I can control my attitude & be ‘unconquerable’.

    So interesting to hear a completely different take on the same poem. Hope you & your family are well!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s