When The Bucket Is Too Full To Carry

You’ve got to love refrigerators which give free access to water and ice. No unsticking ice cubes from a tray. No hauling out–and spilling–large pitchers of cold water. Just plop a cup under a dispenser and press. Pull it out when full.unnamed

Unless you’re shorter than the top of the cup. You can’t see when the water reaches the top. Until it’s splashing over the rim.

Isley can’t see the top of any container under the dispenser. She’s vertically challenged. That never slows her independent spirit down long enough to ask for help. She often stands there, watching water cascade over the sides as she presses her cup against the dispenser.

Too full.

imgresAn overflowing container isn’t too bad for some things. A bucket overflowing with fresh-picked fruit is a good thing. So is one full to the brim with coins.

Or chocolates.

But too much of some things is difficult. Overflowing garbage containers. A baby with an overflowing diaper. Sewage backing up and overflowing into your bathtub.

Too much pain overflowing the heart.

Over the past several days I’ve had a dear friend experience deep sorrow. Pain that comes in waves from an inconceivable loss. Her pail of grief is too full to bear alone. A grief she never asked for. One she couldn’t prepare for.

Culturally, because self-reliance is a value, we don’t deal well with grief, loss or disappointment. We’re taught to hold our heads high. Don’t let them see you cry. Keep on keepin’ on, no matter what the cost. Work through the pain. Suck it up and be a man.

That’s a great attitude when you’re on a playing field and there are eleven really big guys chasing you down for holding a ball. But when grief, loss or disappointment are wearing a hole in their welcome, dealing with the accompanying pain can feel impossible.

We can’t do it alone. God made us to help one another. Bear one another’s burdens. Support each other in our pain.

Because we touch each others lives.

William Styron, the author of Sophie’s Choice, wrote:

I did not weep for the six million Jews or the two million Poles or the one million Serbs or the five million Russians–I was unprepared to weep for all humanity–but I did weep for those others who in one way or another had become dear to me.

When we care for people, we come alongside them. Comfort them with our presence. Sit with them in their sadness. We don’t try to fix them with words or a casserole. We listen when they’re needing to talk. Share their tears when crying is all they can do. Let them know we’re there.

People matter. All people. Those close to us need to know that when they hurt, when they suffer, we feel their pain. We carry it with them.

We show up.

Ultimately, God carries our pain. Our tears, our pain, matter to Him. He weeps with us.

Who will you weep with?








8 responses to “When The Bucket Is Too Full To Carry”

  1. Thank you for the reminder to come alongside, and for the great visuals. Sometimes we have to carry that over-flowing bucket, and it’s great to have a companion.


    1. And you’ve always been that companion for me, Debster.


  2. Dayle, I don’t deal well with deep pain and sorrow either. I’m like Isley – can’t see the top. People DO matter. Thank YOU GOD for carrying my/our pain. [Congrats and Blessings to you both, also Happy Mothers Day to you]


    1. Happy Mom’s Day to you, Lo! Yup–pain is a bear. Suffering isn’t what I’d ever sign up for. It’s almost harder when you feel it for the pain of others. Nothing to do there–but pray!


  3. I relate to Isley…and I know you do too, in the vertical dept. Couldn’t see that the lid was not correctly on the flour container…hence it is now on a much lower shelf! Yeah, that was fun. 🙂 But I hope I also relate to you in the burden sharing and coming alongside arena. You do it well, by the way.


    1. Well, my friend, I’ve seen it often enough in you. Shared hearts, shared minds. (Does that make us half wits?)


  4. My heart goes out to your dear friend who has such overwhelming pain. You described it so well, “Pain that comes in waves from an inconceivable loss. Her pail of grief is too full to bear alone. A grief she never asked for. One she couldn’t prepare for.” Know that my prayer is for her this morning…


    1. Thanks, Mags, because this morning is when she’s really going to need it. Buckets of prayer. I appreciate your kindness–more than you know.


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