My mother and I found it, spelled my way – Lynne – at the Renaissance Center in a gift shop senior year of high school.
You never find mugs with my name on it, at least not spelled my way, and so we bought it. We were simply walking through the RenCen on our way to somewhere else. I have that mug in my kitchen cupboard and use it often for my morning coffee. Do the math: I bought it in 1989, so this little ceramic coffee-holder is 24 years old and going strong.
Every morning, I make a cup of Elite, Israeli instant coffee, and crush a cardamom pod to put the seeds in. It helps with digestion. I drizzle cream into and swirl it all around. I love the acidic flavor. Its familiarity reminds me of my travels through my favorite country in the world, my spiritual homeland, and mornings from my religious years sipping a cup of instant because that’s all we were permitted to make.
In my kitchen, I have a collection of mismatched mugs. Everywhere I go, I find a mug that will remind me of my journeys through life. There are mugs from Mother’s in Portland, Oregon, the Wet Mitten shop in Traverse City, so many places which stay present in my life thanks to my morning coffee.
It is remarkable, really, that when I pull down the Lynne mug, I see my mother and I running through one of Detroit’s urban landmarks. I also have a mug that used to be my grandfather’s and one that my eldest son Asher got me as a gift; its rhinestone embellishment means it must be hand-washed.
All the lives that I’ve lived circle around me in the simple act of sipping coffee early in the morning before the house awakens. I am who I am based on the places I’ve been and the ways I’ve lived in years past. Today, I embark on a new path, the sum total of all these prior experiences, which are tucked away quietly, deep inside me.
We are the total of our varied experiences. It’s ok to sit still in one place and prefer a familiar path. But the little dips we take into something new round out that picture, make us whole.