Pouring From An Empty Cup

Let me preface this by a few statements:

  1. This is not a new concept.
  2. I have soap-boxed about this in depth with caregivers and friends.
  3. Please don’t take this personally.
  4. I don’t take my own advice well.

We’ve been back in Michigan for about a month now.  Since this is our “home base” in terms of doctors, banks, organizations, etc. – we tend to get busier.  It has taken exactly this long for me to completely empty my cup – so dry there is not a drop of moisture, and I am pretty sure there are at least surface cracks.

Some of you reading this are going to be tempted to or actually try and apologize.  I don’t want that or expect that.  The purpose of writing this is two-fold – first as a reminder to me, and secondly – in hopes that someone reading this needs to hear this same message.  This IS NOT to make anyone feel guilty.

I have allowed this to happen.  I am the one that created this drought situation.  No. One. Else.

You can’t pour from an empty cup – that’s a no-brainer, right?  Someone has to fill the cup – keep it topped off.  And that someone HAS to be the owner of the cup.  Sure, someone else might walk by with the teapot – but if you don’t allow the cup to be filled….it’s going to be dry. (Hint – make sure you turn the cup so the opening is up…don’t be like me a flip the darn thing over so the bottom is facing up.)

Now I am working on filling my cup.  Like anything else in this life – it’s much harder to fill from empty than taking the time to keep it topped off as you go.  Today is the day that my cup hit rock bottom.  (Some of you will understand/relate to this very well.)  I didn’t handle it well at all.  I was angry, mad, frustrated, and feeling it physically.  My neck and shoulders were (still are) so tense they are spasming.  I did manage to unhinge my shoulders from my ear lobes.

How do I fill my cup?  It may be very different from the way you fill yours.  Each of us will nurture ourselves in very different ways.  I find joy (aka fill my cup) in the same things that actually drain the very same vessel.  Caring for others, giving/using my abilities to help others, setting aside time for creating things (knitting, gardening, writing, playing piano, baking, cooking), reading, taking time to sit and chat with friends and family.  Finding time to simply sit quietly, alone or with companions, and listen to the silence.  Going for a walk or a run, finishing a workout, taking an afternoon nap…enjoying a cup of tea and watching a favorite old movie.  Spending time at the airport, fishing, playing in the water, or just being playful.

How do you fill your cup?

Why do we let our cup get empty?  I let mine get drained by putting myself at the bottom of the to-do list.  Telling myself those activities aren’t as important as attending to other needs.  I let my cup go empty because I let my ego tell me that only I can do (insert whatever task is at hand), and I don’t need the same attention that others do because apparently I am superhuman.  I let it go empty because sometimes I don’t see myself as worthy of – or deserving the same treatment/luxury that I advocate for others. 

Why do you let your cup go empty?

So now, baby steps to start filling that cup up until it is overflowing.  Getting out a firehose to douse the flames of self-importance that my ego keeps fanning.  Remembering and relearning that God’s Grace is more than sufficient.  It’s not up to me to save the world – but it is up to me to make sure that I work on taking care of the cup that God has given me.  To make sure that I can pour from that cup because I take the time to keep it full.

How are you going to keep your cup full?

These pictures are of the sky this evening.  They gave me a great visual of what I was feeling.  The clouds that are dark and building height – all the stuff I let build up in me.  The clouds obscuring the sun – but not completely – reminding me that God’s love, patience, and GRACE will always shine through or around! 

And the ducklings…reminding me that even if I don’t have them all in a row, at least they are together in the same lake!

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