I was considering the broken plate analogy the other day when it occurred to me that it is, in fact, an incomplete thought. If you’re unaware of the analogy of which I speak it goes something like this:
“Grab a plate. Now break it on the floor. Now tell it you’re sorry. Is it fixed? No? Now you understand.”
It makes sense. It gets the point across but lacks the punch that the “plate” in any scenario really feels.
In my mind the scenario goes like this:
Grab a plate. Smash it. Tell it your sorry. The plate believes you that you are sorry and forgives you but it is still broken. Now comes the sticky part. You feel bad that the plate is still broken so you try to fix it. Glue, duct tape, anything that will put the pieces back together for the plate. The plate is grateful. You feel good for helping put the plate back together. And you are both happy for a time while the plate is letting the glue dry and from all outward appearances the plate looks fine. But the plate still remembers being dropped and can feel the cracks because they are part of the plate now.
Here’s where it gets really troublesome. More time passes and everything is good between you and the plate. You actually start to forget that you broke the plate and feel like everything is back to normal. Even the plate feels good again. After some regular wear, the cracks are really starting to fade. But the plate still gets nervous sometimes when you go to touch it. It gets that little reminder of how it felt being smashed and is nervous about it happening again. You reassure the plate you would never break it again. You say you are sorry for dropping it in the first place. The plate still believes you. You cherish the plate and don’t want to ever damage it again.
The problem is damage. You can clean and wash the plate and care for it. You can be careful with the plate and make sure you don’t do anything that could break the plate again. But the cracks are still there no matter how much time passes. And when you go to put something heavy on the plate again the stress can make the glue come undone and those cracks never let the plate be as strong as it was originally. The plate wants to be strong again. It wants to carry everything you want to put on it. But the weight of the things you want to put on the plate sometimes cause those old cracks to hurt and feel more prominent.
My advice, never intentionally break a plate.