My friend, Patrick, has this quirky habit of taking a cup of water with him when he leaves restaurants or places on campus. I can’t decide if he’s fighting dehydration or if he’s just trying to take advantage of free, filtered water, but regardless, he carries this cup all the way home from wherever we’ve eaten. Here’s the problem: he never puts a lid on this cup. This may not seem like a big deal to you, and honestly, it wasn’t one to me either. Until now.
Because there’s not a lid on this full cup of water, it splashes out and lands everywhere, including my skin, shoes, or anything else within a 3-foot radius of Patrick and his negligence. Every single day I watch as water spills over the edge and scatters across the pavement or gets tipped over when he sets it down or ends up hydrating the bushes when I toss the water out of frustration. Every single day I watch him walk out the door with a full glass of water and by the time he’s home, through the clumsiness and fumbling and forgetting he’s holding liquid, he has about half that amount of water.
Today, as I noticed waves sloshing over the edges, I realized our lives are kinda like that cup of water. We are only given a certain amount of liquid in our lifetime. We can be like Patrick, stumbling through each day, encountering the occasional sidewalk or person to spill ourselves onto, hoping it wasn’t a loss, or we can find something we love to pour ourselves into completely. We only get so much and we don’t get to keep any of it. What I love is that even as I am clumsy and uncoordinated, God runs up behind me to tell me I’m spilling myself everywhere, steadies the cup, and says, ‘Here, let’s pour this somewhere better than just between the cracks in the sidewalk. Let’s pour it into these girls you love, who need Me and you. Let’s pour it into this ministry you love. Let’s pour it into the person I’ve set apart for you. Let’s pour what’s left of this water into something that will grow and flourish into something beautiful instead of slipping and stumbling through your life. Alright?’ And all I have to do is say, “Good idea. Here, take this,” and hand him what’s left of me. How encouraging it is to know that we, who lack lids and spill ourselves all over the place, have someone looking out for us with a steadier hand and maybe a lid if we need it.
Even now, as Patrick is carrying that sloppy cup into my room with the remaining water he has, I can’t help but smile and roll my eyes because he’s never going to put a lid on that cup and I’m glad I’ve handed over what’s left of me to someone who has a better idea of where my life should go.