***For full effect (I promise I am not crazy- it is just what I was listening to while I wrote) play the music on this great video while you read https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KDEmtWLwMOM#! ***
While walking for a coffee after work I wandered into my favorite art gallery this afternoon. After a quick pass through the building, I stopped when I saw this quote painted on a piece by the front door…
“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out”
Splashes of gray, bold, red text, on a rough stretched canvas struck me like a bolt of familiar lightning. Conservation of the good stuff suddenly came to mind. Saving and stashing vs. passing on your bountiful excess when someone needs your help.
I immediately pictured the blue speckled enamel camping cup my Dad would pack when we went on a weekend adventure. You know, the kind that would bang and clang if it touched another like it? That old cup was bent and dented, the handle a little askew from years of being put to good use. The cup held water, the cup held hot food, the cup probably scooped dirt to put out a campfire at one time or another. The blue cup most likely held flowers that I picked to enhance the beauty of our campsite as a little girl.
The cup was meant for holding stuff that mattered, stuff to be shared, stuff vital to the situation at hand.
Suddenly, the image of this cup teetering in a low stream bed, braced on a smooth stone, slightly precarious and off balance came to mind… It had a steady trickle of quiet water dropping in to it’s tin bottom. Never in my life have a seen the cup in such a place. To be honest- the mental image seemed a little strange.
For whatever reason, that quote and that oddly whimsical image stuck with me as I walked back to my car… The cup in the quote is not running around bragging about how full it is or what it held in the past, it is simply there, holding its contents, built up over time. The excess water easily, smoothly flowed over the top, clear and cool. When the cup filled, the weight of the water, would eventually tip the cup, passing along to the next cup on down the stream, waiting to be filled.
This was the kind of vision I read about in fictional books, metaphorical stuff. It made me want to hang out with my Dad. It made me want to ride horses and cook outside, it made me want to ask him why it would be better to use one tool or another when constructing a house, why use that particular knife when cleaning trout we caught in the river, I wanted to ask him how he got so caring and so smart, so capable of taking care of whatever situation came his way. I wanted to ask him how he came to be so willing to overflow his goodness onto others so freely, for nothing in return. He would pour his whole cup out, until it was completely dry to help someone else. It’s funny how long it takes to see these things in your Dad.
This afternoon, while cozily tucked in my bed (at 4pm) I was buried in meteorology text books, notes, and laptop with a warm little pup nestled against my leg. I was in the middle of a short exam when “Dad” popped up on my iPhone.
“Hey Dad, what’s up?”
“Hey kid- I just wanted to see if you were excited to be covering Hurricane Sandy- you know, being in meteorology school and all- I bet it was pretty wild”
“Yeah, it was cool- that storm is huge. I am actually taking a test right now…”
“Okay- well, get back to work, I don’t want to interrupt your test. I’ll talk to you later”
This post isn’t about flight and it’s not about motivating yourself to change the world. This one is just about love and respect and being thankful for all the people who tip themselves over on your behalf.
Chances are, if you have read the post this far, you probably have someone in your world that gives in excess in the form of checking in, loving, listening, encouraging.
Figure out how to tip your cup over and share some of the good you’ve been collecting lately.
Love you Dad…