Buckets of Dirty Water Look Like My Problems

An Analogy I Didn’t Forget

I was on vacation in Maine the first summer of my recovery. But I needed a meeting; I entered a church basement, quite like the ones at home: musty smell, and glaring fluorescent lighting. I saw people milling about, smelled the coffee, and headed to the folding chairs around the tables. Animated conversations and laughing quieted quickly as the meeting began. It was an open discussion meeting and several of us were experiencing some rough going emotionally.

An old-timer spoke, a Maine waterman whose distinct accent I can’t duplicate. So, I’ve included a link so you can read this with a Maine twang:

Your problems are like buckets of dirty water – they won’t settle out until you put them down, and leave them alone for a spell.

Let the Problems Settle Out

The image stuck in my brain like it was super glued. This much I knew:  life sure felt like I was lugging heavy buckets of cloudy, grimy water, and I understood that clear water, with all the sand and grit on the bottom of the bucket was a good thing.

But how do I do that, set my buckets down?

I had never seen any one I knew let go of their “buckets” ~ family quarrels, resentments, disappointments, or other gripes sloshed around my bucket. And alcohol was my handy stirrer. Keeping my emotions stirred up was also a clever excuse to have another drink.

Over time, going to meetings, however, and listening to what was said I could see people letting go of problems and waiting for answers that seemed to arrive at just the right time.

That waterman’s analogy still makes sense, and remains good advice wrapped up in a vivid image.

How about you, dear reader? Is some person or thing weighing you down? Is it about time to stop stirring up stuff that really needs to clear?

Maybe, like I was, you don’t know how?

Here’s an invitation worth considering:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)

And remember:

“Satan Loves to fish, when the waters are troubled” George Swinnock

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Buckets of Dirty Water Look Like My Problems