Hope in the Midst of Life ~ January 2017

Of Resolutions and Cups

I am not a caregiver of children any more. I am, however, a caregiver of parents. I need to say that first, before I say the next things, because this simple fact has such impact on all of my life!

If I have a “cup”, caregiving, despite the fact that there are joys, mostly empties my cup. Please don’t get me wrong… It is not all about ME – or I wouldn’t be the helper I am. BUT at the same time, it NEEDS to be about me. (It NEEDS to be about YOU too!) I love those I help; so much that my life is nearly engulfed by their needs alone. I am guessing that this also how it is for you! As I sat down to write this article, I noticed a picture on my bulletin board that says… “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Huh. Not sure I have been doing much “pouring” lately; least-wise not so well. How about you?

Here it is, almost the New Year. … and I am aware that it is time to think about New Year’s resolutions. I know this, (we all know this,) thanks to the many commercials like the one my Mom watches, with skinny girls in tights, twisting on plastic boards with big smiles, all-the-while – not sweating. They tell us, “If you just get this plastic board, in two easy payments, you will be skinny. What’s more… It is sooo easy anyone can do it, and you will find the happiness you’ve always longed for!”

“Are they kidding?” Despite my opinion, they are probably selling thousands of plastic boards, which undoubtedly take a lot of practice just to be able to stand on, let alone to actually twist on. Sometimes we are like that… we are looking for that something – to be more beautiful, to be happy, and to have fun… Some of us will even purchase a chunk of plastic to attempt to fill our empty “cups”.

Seriously, writing goals has always helped me focus and accomplish things… I need goals like – more sleep, more exercise, better eating, etc. But the real issue, the reason I seem to be avoiding this process nearly all together this year, is that there are some things that I have wanted to accomplish for a very long time… These are things that I start and don’t seem to find my way back to. I have good reasons of course. Things like – “Others need my help”, and perhaps more often – I am just flat out “too tired!” (Pun intended!!)

Honestly, I am afraid to write my really important goals down – largely because then I risk the disappointment of, yet AGAIN, not accomplishing them!

As caregivers, you understand what I am saying, I am sure. The ones we love and care for – come first – and our “stuff” always waits. Maybe the idea – “I could be two people and still not get done,” even comes to mind.

I’ve given my resolutions/goals much thought in the last few weeks and maybe I’ve figured something out… I just managed (a great accomplishment for me) to put a quilt in the frame for my first grandchild. I sit and quilt … and the motion and the “making” are restoring and refreshing to my soul.

The thing is, a quilt, even if it is crib size, is not a thing done quickly, just like my other important goals. I can’t sit at the frame one or even ten sittings and get it all quilted… and that is okay with me. If you quilt you know that it is the process that is almost as great as the finished product. So I sit down a bit and work on it here a few minutes and there a few minutes. As I quilted the other night, I had this thought… “What if I work on those things – my resolutions/my heart’s goals – like I am quilting… a little bit at a time?” (No Rhodes Scholar idea here; should have had it a long time ago!) BUT, what if I look at even my big goals like this??!!

I know this can work! Clearly not taking the time – even little bits at a time, to work on my goals, doesn’t get me one step closer to accomplishing them. And it sure doesn’t fill my cup! What if – a little bit at a time, I could work on my goals and actually do things that fill my cup? !! It may sound like a no-brainer to you – but I am just dancing with the possibilities!

So I invite you to consider: What are your resolutions, your goals? Can you start them and leave them “handy to get to” and return to them regularly, even if it is ten minutes here, and five minutes there?

Go fill your cup; even if it is little bits at a time. By the way, there is no guilt involved in this… because “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”

May your cup be filling up this New Year!

Janet Miller  MA LPCC


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