Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Filling Cups

I picture each of my kids holding a little cup in their hands. This cup contains their confidence, their assuredness, their security, their deep sense of knowing that they are valuable, worthy, that they have good gifts to give.

The levels within the cups fluctuate. It varies due to different events and situations they face, depending on what they are going through - at home, in sports, with friends, and at school. Sometimes their confidence is stable and sky high, other times it is lower and stands tenuously on shaky ground.

We have five children whose cups remain relatively full, the majority of the time. There is margin - room to lose a bit of fluid and still have plenty of reserve. We have been pouring into these children's cups since the day they were born, offering them affirmation, affection, reassurance they are lovely and smart and charming and handsome and capable and treasured and wonderous. When they were babies our eye contact, our voices, our smiles, and our eagerness to meet their needs fed their innate hunger to feel infinitely precious. It was instilled in them from day one, their lives, their presence, their very selves are a source of blessing. They have been insulated with free flowing, predictable love.

We have another two children whose cups remain emptier than I would like to admit. Their time on this earth has been marked with cloudy uncertainty. Are they enough? Are they worthy? Are they loved? Why were they left? The people who were supposed to be their guardians and protectors, the ones who were given the gift of their lives, were not able to provide their little one's most essential needs. Not just for food and clothing and shelter, but for cups full of knowingness - they are worthwhile, cherished, wanted.

And so they doubt. They lack. They stand off, stay back, guard their hearts from enduring more of the hurt and pain they know all too intimately. We've talked about it. Their brains know their parents were simply not able, that it wasn't their fault. But deep in their souls, ever present with them, lurking like a dark, heavy shadow, is a sense of rejection they carry with them, morning and night, day after day. Always.

I am their mother now. It is my job, my responsibility, my privilege to replenish what was been lost through trauma and grief and loss. But it has not been an easy road for me. They hold me at arms length, distancing themselves in an attempt to cope and shield their vulnerability and I struggle with fortifying their cups the way I should, in the manner that comes so naturally and so effusively with our other children.

Sometimes, I can see it in their faces. Through small drips, tiny leaks or big disruptions that knock their cups to the floor dumping the contents all over the ground, I spill and splash out what I ought to be filling.

It's such a lot of pressure - for me to be enough - for me to assure them they are enough - for them to truly feel enough.

As I go through this day, this week, this month, this season I have to nurture these children whose lives have been richly burdened, I pray that I can call to remembrance that I have a choice. Every encounter, every interaction, every opportunity, I can share refreshing affirmations of their unquantifiable treasure, through my voice, my eyes, my smile, my hands. My attempts to validate may or may not pierce and penetrate and become absorbed in the deepest recesses of their hearts, but I can continue to try. I will often fail. I will say what I should not, omit what ought to be said. Leaks will undoubtedly spring. Though wounds may heal, I am sure that tender scars will remain.

Through all we face together, Lord, please let me remember to pour into their cups, that they might become filled.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

oh, how i needed to hear this. i am in an ugly cycle of choosing NOT to fill someone's cup...and i know i need to. my ugly, ugly heart...

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