Monday, September 25, 2006

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza...

(traditional song, Wikipedia article)

This song was one I learned on Sesame Street. SS, being one of those shows that repeats content (which stacks up with brain research for early childhood), now I have lost the grammatical thread of the sentence. What I was trying to say is that SS repeats content. So "There's a hole..." is a song from my first childhood (when I was wee) and my second childhood (when the sibs were wee.) I wouldn't be surprised if it is still featured on Sesame Street. For the record, I'm on my third childhood (where all my friends have wee ones and I am a children's librarian.)

Another tangent. I spoke yesterday with a dear friend who reads this blog daily. It was a bit bizarre that he knew exactly what I was talking about because he could reference blog entries as I was filling him in on my life up to date. His daughter is five. As a reflex, I asked him how old she was, and I knew before he answered, because of course she's five. All my friends that could be, were parents five years ago. So I know at least three five year olds in Pittsburgh alone. Four, if you include Cranberry. I know more than five if you include the lower 48 and extend it out to include the world. Of course she's five. What other age could she be?

It is either way too late or way too early for me to be up, but there you go. I had an exhausting but satisfying Sunday and came home to crash on the couch (with the TV on) at 9pm. I woke up at midnight to Sis' favorite show, Alias, which I'd never seen before. LOVED IT. I mean, few network shows feature Warsaw as one of their stops around the globe. That wasn't the only thing I loved, but I am too tired to expound.

I impulsively check email upon awakening. It's not the best habit, but there you go. Yesterday I didn't talk to anyone at 304 Walnut but last night my father sent me four emails: an article about Billy Graham, an article about Evangelical Christianity moving to places in the third and second worlds (i.e. not the "Western World," Europe and the US), a column by Art Buchwald about being a hospice dropout (It starts out with these opening lines: "The summer is over. As I reported in June, instead of going to Heaven I went to Martha's Vineyard."), and an email in which he recorded that today (yesterday at this reading) was Jim Henson's birthday. He would have been 70.

Three of the emails were articles he'd referenced in phone calls we'd had. My father is one of the most well-read men I know. When he worked the Econ desk in Warsaw or Tegucigalpa, he would read three newspapers a day. He reads more now, I think. He goes to Panera with his laptop because while Starbucks has the New York Times in print form, Panera has the Wall Street Journal, and you can get most of the print content of the NYT online, while the WSJ online has a hefty subscription fee. In another life I think my father would be a librarian. He keeps up email lists that are pretty much clipping services to former collegues about Brazil, Columbia, and Poland. It's not something I think about often, but I think the church will be standing room only when he passes.

To my father, (I've said this before, so humor me) a stranger is a friend he hasn't met yet. I remember one time as we were in the airport in Brasilia, on the way to my gate as I was going back to Pittsburgh, we ran into, of all people, my dad's barber. Yes, the man who cut my father's hair. We stood around for at least five minutes while my father bantered on with this man. (Did I mention there was a blizzard on the Eastern Seaboard and I didn't know if my flight would depart?) But that's the kind of man he is. As annoying as it sometimes is, I love him for it.

Emily and I have been talking about fathers lately. How knowing an earthly father aids us in constructing a relationship with Father God. How true I am finding that these days. In my walks, as I gaze upon my Father's world, I think about how dear I am to Him. And that is where we come back to the bucket. Remember the bucket? There's a hole in the bucket.

Dwight L. Moody, when asked if he was filled with the Holy Spirit, replied, "Yes, but I leak." As I have been supporting my friends in this time, as I have been supporting myself in this time, I have found that I need to refill my bucket daily. If I don't have time with God, either in solitary prayer or corporate worship, I'm doomed. Because no human can fill my bucket. No human can fill the need I have for agape love. I love my family. But they are not always around. I love my friends. But they are often wounded, cracked pots, just like me. There's a saying that crops up on bumper stickers: Hurt people hurt people. We don't have to try very hard to hurt someone's feelings. And sometimes we hurt their feelings without even trying. We didn't know that today was their birthday or that they love that song/movie/book/person we just ranted about.

"All my life, I've been in hiding, wishing there was someone just like You." These lyrics only really work if we're singing them in worship to God. Most love songs on popular radio are in the same category. I've heard Peter Gabriel's song "Your Eyes" done a cappella by a Christian group, and the words made so much more sense referring to God's eyes. "In your eyes/I am complete/in your eyes/I see the doorway to a thousand churches/in your eyes/the resolution of all the fruitless searches..."

So my friends, the joy I share with them, is just icing on the cake. I need them as much as they need me, but if I don't have a solid relationship with God, I am no use to them. Because I leak. I offend. And I get lonely at two in the morning.


Heidi Renee said...

ah dear friend, sorry about the sleepless nights. and i love this post, but i disagree with one part - the "i leak" part is positive - not negative (imnsho) - i think that's where the light shines through.

it's where we own our junk and find redemption - when that is shared, leaked, it becomes a place of healing for others.

i think we leak because that is how it's meant to be - we are broken - fact of life. the leaking is where the spirit flows through to others.

i love that you leak sarah louise - you are transparency personified. that ministers to us. we are then allowed to be human too, to own our junk and leak out of our broken places.

pray today finds you enjoying your walks and getting moments of rest in the bookstacks! :)

Sarah Louise said...

Heidi, I agree--the leaking is why we need to refill the bucket. YES! We are broken. YES! We are jars of clay. Yes, it is good that we leak. We are only then aware that we NEED God and our community.

and thanks for the compliment: transparency personified--wow. I'll try not to get a big head...

fortunately, today is my day off, so I can do whatever I please except for one errand in Wexford around noon. So I slept from 9p to 12a, then from 5a to 9a. Fascinating. God was trying to get my attention, methinks.

alyssa said...

have you seen the liner notes from David Crowder's album where he does that song? (Deliver Me) It's interesting how he came across it. Not a Christian song at all, until he recorded it, of course.

John and I have written several songs that can be taken to be about a human relationship or the God/human relationship. Depends on where we're playing them or who is listening.

Eileen said...

I'm glad I got to see you (for only 2 seconds tho!) at OD yesterday... I'm excited to go more often... really excited... I have to figure out which weeks I'll be there - my goal is to be able to go at least twice a month... otherwise I go through OD withdrawl (ha, funny) :o)

Anywho... I hope you're week is off to a good start!!!

MsCellania said...

Oh, SL! Such great things you are writing lately. And of course; I have a 5 yo. As you said, all your friends do!