Old Wisdom - New Days

I was riding in the car as a child and father behind the wheel. I do not recall all that was being said but do remember he launched into a recitation...

Bucket Of Water (There Is No Indispensable Man)

Sometimes when you're feeling so important

Sometimes when your ego's in bloom

Sometimes when you take it for granted

Your the best informed man in the room

Sometimes when you think that your going

Would leave an unfillable hole

Just follow these instructions

And see how it humbles your soul

Take a bucket and fill it with water

Put your hands in it right up to the wrists

Pull them out and the hole that remains

Is a measure of how much you'll be missed

You may splash all you please as you enter

You may stir up the water galore

But stop, and in a moment

It looks just the same as before

The moral is quite simple

Do just the best that you can

Be proud of yourself and remember

There is no indispensable man.

I recalled this recently when something happened to remind me people can be - people. I was invited to attend a small gathering and when I arrived at the location at the appointed time - it was locked up. Attempts to contact the person who had invited me provided futile. I was a little hurt; rejection is never kind. Coming as it did at the end of a long string of rejections - I was a little numb to its most forceful impact.

It came in the spring, while all around the flowers and shrubs were struggling to shake off a winter that would not die. Those plants wanted to grow, they wanted life and light. I too wanted the harsh killing field of the winter to fade, to slink away and something good to rise victorious in a gloriously hopeful spring. The long winter was too harsh.

There had been attempted murder of my soul. Hit and run on the security of my life. Willful aggression on my spirit and assault and battery of my self-esteem.  A winter where I found more kindness, openness and support from pagans and heretics than people who called themselves people of faith. I was the body tossed out of the speeding truck to fall bloody to the side of the road and only the despised Samaritan seemed to see, to care or tend my wounds. Yes, a harsh long winter where I had learned friends were few, kindness rare, and loneliness as painful as a knife. 

I often recalled those gloomy words of my father that day in the car. Oh, yes. Dad, I understand now! That is how much I am missed! That is how much I matter. That is how much any one cares about me! Pity me! Feel sorry for me!!

Then - I found the anonymous poem and saw the final lines "do the best that you can/be proud of yourself and remember/ there is no indispensable man." What others thought did not matter - it was what you thought inside. The only measure was that you used on yourself. As long as you lived up to your own ethics, your own standards, your own values and lived to your own expectations....what others said or did meant nothing. Everyone was subject to the same eventual fate of being forgotten and cast aside. 

So that a bucket if you must....I will empty mine, and no longer measure myself against others.  "Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence." (1 Corinthians 10:12 MSG)

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