Drip by Drip—on the surface it may seem like torture, it may seem that you cannot take anymore as you wait to fill a glass, drip by drip. And then, once you think you have filled your glass, you find there is room for more, or, you spill some of it. This is so true of our lives: We work to fill ourselves up but then we make a mistake, and we lose some of what we’ve worked so hard to achieve. It seems there’s a constant need to continue filling the glass. We can do this through purposeful, selfless behavior, growth, and actions. By surrounding ourselves with relationships who will challenge us and add perspective that may very well be different than ours. How healthy is that? Immensely!
Recently, I was reading about the process of becoming a person of true faith and conviction. It involves three actions: Believe, Receive, Become. This not only pertains to faith but many aspects of a meaningful life and relationships.
I also read an article posted by Shaun Shelton on LinkedIn that struck me. The title of the article was: “Speaking vs. Doing.” Shaun stated, “I can’t help but notice that the vast majority of speakers out there aren’t actually doers. Sadly, they talk the talk, but are unable to walk the walk . . .”
This article was a great reminder that walking the talk is critical: Do as you say and say as you do! It’s how we fill up our glass, how we lead a full, rewarding real life. It enables us to tell the truth about our experiences, experiences that are both good and bad.
Truth (being real!) reminds us what is really important.
Esteli, Nicaragua 2017 – I continue to be reminded and amazed by the impact of going on a mission/humanitarian trip, not just the families and individuals we serve, but those who serve as well. My latest Habitat for Humanity trip was no different. This trip took us to Nicaragua and the town of Esteli. We had the privilege to build a home for Vilma, a grandmother, her daughter, Heidi; and her granddaughter, Roxie. The home they were living in had dirt floors, porous walls, and a tin roof. The home flooded during the rainy season.
Each day, Vilma and Roxie greeted us as we arrived in the morning and waved goodbye as we left in the afternoon (the mother had to work long hours hand rolling cigars). One afternoon, little Roxie gave me a freshly picked blue flower with a smile that said “thank you” as only a child can. Such a series of gifts of heartfelt love and appreciation as expressed in their greetings, saying goodbye, as well as the gift of the flower from Roxie communicated their deep appreciation. It was a true pleasure to build a cinder block home for this family who were so genuinely gracious and appreciative. These actions in themselves were a lesson and lasting take away for us. Despite a total communication barrier, it was clear that the family deeply appreciated this gift. It greatly impacted me and those who worked on building the home.
Doing little things to express gratitude is not just important, it is everything.
As I flew home following the trip, I reflected on the experiences and gifts I’d received, it felt good!
To give and to mentor is good for everyone; the givers and the recipients gain significantly and change lives.
The Lava Lamp of Life
Isn’t life interesting? Once you have committed yourself to “receive and to belong” you can later reflect on the journey you have taken as well as what lies ahead. It’s like a lava lamp (remember those?). Think about what you see when watching a lava lamp. There is this slow meandering rising of the oil to the surface; it takes its time, doesn’t flow in a straight line, and eases into differing shapes. It eventually rises to the surface and then sinks and the process continues. Isn’t this symbolic of life’s journey? Yes, as long as there is resilience and a commitment to moving, changing, and growing, as long as we can trust the process not knowing the outcome. If there is trust, we know that every time life brings us down there will be something that buoys us up again.
Our life and our relationships also undergo this type of process of morphing and change. All we have to do is trust and open ourselves up to being vulnerable, real, and transparent.
Back to my opening paragraph and DRIP, DRIP, DRIP! Each drip contributes to filling up our glass. Like the drip from a faucet, it takes time, patience, and persistence to fill up our souls through meaningful and wholehearted actions. It is inevitable that there will be some spills along the way but we continue to work on filling ourselves up, drip by drip.
I am learning that we need to give of ourselves out of love and care and not be looking for what is given back to us. Here is my parting thought:
Grace, is an easy word to say, but difficult to actually live out in its truest sense.
Amazing Grace is servanthood to others when they are in greatest need and we receive nothing in return.