Drain the Cup

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman (American Theologian, Clergyman and Activist. 1900-1981)

Sometimes, the cup we are handed is full of lemons; sometimes, it is full of lemonade. Whatever we find in the cup that we are given to taste at this particular point in time, it might be important to note that, as at dinner time at your mother’s house, you won’t get a refill or something new to drink until you finish the drink you already have. Another way of saying this is that life is full of seasons, to a purpose.

Every part of our lives, each individual cup full of life circumstances, has things that can benefit us. For example, bitter coffee wakes us up, sour wine can relax us, tart lemonade refreshes and cools us. Too much of anything can be bad for us, but we can pull purpose for our lives as well as grow-up lessons out of each situation which faces us. A long wait can teach us patience, and if we can take our eyes off of our watches, we might look up and see the people around us, who could benefit from a smile, a “thank you”, a prayer, a word of encouragement (Nice shirt!). When our eyes are focused so close to ourselves all the time, we many times get the impression that the world revolves around us and no one is as worthy of blessing, respect, authority, or notice more than we are. The world is full of these kinds of people already and the results are plastered across cemeteries, the newspaper headlines, and missing children’s stories, among other things.

To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia (American guru, tireless advocate of the power of love, 1924-1998)

When we fail to learn the important life lessons early, we will get another chance, and another, and another. The message we seem to miss so many times is “clean your plate” or “drain your cup”. How many times do we really want to go through this same thing in this same way? Wasn’t it enough the first time? Drain the cup, learn your lesson, and move on. Be healed, be stronger, be wiser, be free!

Just as important is enjoying the drink when it is especially refreshing. We really need these times of respite in order to be able to face life’s hard times. Therefore, when you are handed a particularly delightful cup, drain it, and be rested so that tomorrow doesn’t find you weary, stressed, and unprepared. We do not always get to choose what we hold in our cup; but if we can learn to drain it even to its most bitter dregs, we can move on to be happier, more generous and whole human beings. That, I think we can all agree, is something that will benefit everyone.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 8-13


Embracing Adventure

A couple of weekends ago I went on a Date with my sweet, sweet hubby, Adam. It started out by going to breakfast. It took more than 45 minutes before we were served. The food was not worth the wait. The bathrooms were I-can-hold-it-until-we-get-home dirty. There was a little girl who tried, in vain, to compete for her mom’s attention by climbing all over the booth next to us and into the one beyond that, singing in the aisles, which put her in the way of the waitresses and other customers. The whole experience wasn’t something which led me to believe that restaurant will be receiving a 5-star rating anytime soon. Still, we were fed and didn’t have to make it ourselves, and we got a break from the kids. To top it all off, we now have a funny story to tell.

From there we went to the mall, where my hubby and I took turns going to places one or both of us like. He even let me spend what I’m sure was a long time smelling lotions at Bath and Body Works, and even let me buy some, even though we’re on a fairly tight budget right now. (Let me just stop right now and say, for the sake of my hubby’s reputation as basically just plain awesome, that when I say he “let” me buy lotion, what I mean is that he didn’t give me any grief or guilt and actually encouraged me to treat myself. As a mom, you spend a lot of time doing that for others.) We went to Game Stop and we went to a store where previously Adam had found a really good deal on Gilmore Girls and bought 2 seasons I didn’t already own, because he knows how much I like them. (That’s something my oldest daughter like to do sometimes together.) We even stopped at a little kiosk and bough new covers for our phones. Nerds love their gadgets, after all, we like to care for them, like pets. I may even name mine Poppy.

And then…Adam, aka, Mr. Awesome, led me to a tea shop, called Teavana. A girl at the front of the shop was offering samples of tea, so we tried them, and then we were caught and she led us through the shop and we sampled teas of different flavors, scents, colors, temperatures. All around us were beautiful teapots and canisters of teas and lovely china, and soft lighting. It was a very girly place. I was completely enjoying myself. What a treat it was! Did I mention the fact that Mr. Awesome is 6ft 5in, likes heavy metal, has a ponytail, mustache, and goatee, and is not even remotely girly? He is also rather blunt at times and had some less than poetic descriptions of the teas we were drinking, which made me laugh and shake my head. He stayed there with me, and samples teas from tiny plastic cups, and told the girl he was “gift idea shopping”, and watched me the whole time, and enjoyed my company. He was up for an adventure and willing to move outside of his comfort zone to make someone else happy. I felt very much treasured because he wanted to see me enjoy myself and spend time with me.

I was a little hesitant when the girl fist moved toward us at the front of the tea shop. Like many others who have been to malls, I have experienced the trapped feeling that overly-zealous salespeople can instill in you, their prey. I have had my hair partially curled and straightened and spent the rest of the day looking like I had been called away from my morning preparation a little too soon. I have been swarmed by clone-like young women in a cosmetics store, all talking in unison and asking me if they could help me. I ran from those invasion of the body-snatching salespeople experiences, as I’m sure many others have.

Sometimes, I think we get so used to running from these experiences that we brush off the slightest interruption in our day, no matter where it comes from. We say no when a friend wants to chat over coffee (or tea). We don’t call our mom and dad. (Sorry Mom and Dad, I love you.) We ignore our kids when they want to show us a picture, or schoolwork, or show us how fast they can run, or spin, or dance, or how they can sing, or tell a joke about an orange, a refrigerator, and a box of matches. When we turn our attention to other things, besides our same, old boring, hum-drum routine, we take part in the adventure of life that God is continually trying to woo us into. We become enriched and more interesting, we are put in the path of people who need us. We also, many times, miss out on opportunities to grow and become better-informed and well-rounded people. So, take a chance! Order something different in a restaurant. Try a new place to eat. Pray for that person walking past you on the sidewalk (who you would normally mentally judge). Take part in the Adventure, and more than that, embrace it.