Empty Cup

One gallon of water a day; that became the recommended amount to drink in a given day, a few years ago. The “science” is that we should consume half an ounce of water for each pound we weigh. For me, the math has hovered around 128 - 144 ounces per day. So obediently, I drank it - each day.

I just looked over at my 32 ounce cup and it was empty. It’s late in the day and this day in particular, I haven’t filled and drank from this cup the four times (or more) necessary to meet the quota. I filled it again and will empty it, eventually. But like that cup, there are times I just don’t have a care to give…

I heard a young preacher say in his prayer this morning that sometimes, we are just tired; not merely physically tired, but mentally, even faith-related weariness covers our “bones.” It drapes us like the proverbial wet blanket and while we go through the day, trying to pretend “all is well,” the weariness is like dark circles under our eyes, like a step slower or out of step with the rest of the "rats" racing about.

Now routine and discipline doesn’t solve everything; sometimes, we can’t go on. I don’t mean we can’t get up tomorrow and pretend we love our jobs, smile in our boss’ face - we seem to have that built into our very DNA. No I mean, for all practical sensibilities, and layers of pretense, we have simply stopped: believing, hoping and caring…

There are times - and I came to accept this a very long time ago - when you are just drained and downright hopeless…and THAT’S OKAY! Worse is pretending and trying to convince yourself that all is well. It isn’t; and at other times in our history, this would call for us to curl up in bed and stay until this malaise passed. You may not be afforded that luxury - and that’s okay as well.

Every empty cup, can be filled…and from sources you would least expect.

Do Nothing

21019 River Rock221019 WIP
It’s presently Sunday evening, 9:07 pm. Those last few minutes of mental wind down and preparation for tomorrow - another Monday and another busy work week. Sitting here writing, I recall so many years ago, that at this time, I would be preparing to leave church, drive a few miles away to get gas for my car for the week, but with the same sense of dread and anticipation. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have wanted to “chunk it all,” get in my car and go until the money or my sanity ran out! But I’ve essentially “done nothing.”

I have “wip” projects sitting behind me; I have three pastel drawings in process five paintings pleading for attention. Weekends are usually when I make the time, or an evening here or there. Some days - most - my day begins long before sunrise, even in the summer. And it doesn’t end until it’s dark. Most of the time, I have enough energy to prepare for the next day. And yet, it feels like I haven’t done a thing.

That bothers me; it troubles me more than I can convey in a simple blog. But I am a man of faith; I have seen my “efforts” and my seeming lack there of, yield strange results. So I do what I can, when I can and often far more than I believe I can - with what I have. I am, after all, a man of “faith;” I trust that God begin, or put in me a “work” that remains incomplete. And while I feel like a horse “chomping at the bit” (city slickers: that means the horse is ready to run) I know in my heart, some things are beyond my ability to change…so I do…nothing.

Tomorrow, I will hit the ground running. For all practical purposes, I may as well, move from Monday morning until Sunday night. And yeah, I’m moving, I’m working, I’m taking care of someone else’s wants and needs, but oh so often, it seems like I’m “doing nothing.”

Safe Words

“I’m tired…” or “another day another dollar”… or “Dammit!” Safe words, words learned early in life whether actively used since childhood or not. Words we use to “catch all” of the things we feel and think. Problem is, we rarely examine what we really mean when we say “I’m tired” or “dammit” and even rarer, express what that word “feels like.” Some would call it a lack of emotional intelligence; I think it’s “programming;” behavior also learned over time. Parents, older siblings, television and music, these ‘constants’ playing on our psyche. Mind you, we aren’t merely “sponges,” but intelligent beings capable of deciphering, rejecting and accepting what moves us. And yet, making choices in life, we also choose “safe routes” and passages to navigate through the ever changing landscape around us. To the extent, certain roads we will not travel because it was either identified as unsafe or we choose to think it is so.

Words are also familiar roads. They are choices we have decided are safe to express. For example, if I told my coworkers I really am angry that I have to be here, doing work I would rather not, I’m fairly certain they would bristle up and walk away from me. It’s easier to express: “I’m tired” and it can always be attributed to having insomnia or a bad night’s sleep. I get all sorts of suggestions of teas or melatonin, but I’m not getting to the root of what’s really bothering me. And let’s just break it down: examining the problem isn’t a solution or offering choices to be happy - which is ultimately what we want.

We want to be fulfilled; we want to live our lives in such a way that we are happy about our choices and those with which we live and work. We want to truly rest at the end of the day, having completed tasks, made a positive impact around us and looking forward to rising the next day to do more of the same and better.

Yet, “I’m tired” is that old song we know and hate and love. My suggestion (I’m doing it as I write) is dig deeper; examine that paths not taken, the words and feelings you are certain you are not worthy to explore. Challenge yourself to dream and take action to align yourself to right thoughts, feelings, behavior and “words” that are more fulfilling.