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 published: 2008-06-24

Kicking the Bucket

If you want to get a woman to become frantic about cleaning, just take away her water


Was wir gerade nicht haben, brauchen wir um so dringender

Lo que no tenemos, lo extrañamos tanto

Kicking the bucket

Was wir gerade nicht haben, brauchen wir um so dringender

Fotos: StckXchnge © 2008


Margaret Steinhage Fenelon

The water lines on Cudahy Avenue will be shut off today from 8am to 4pm. That means no running water for a whole day. No big deal, right? I mean, it's only eight hours, right?

Not if you're a woman in charge of a household. Geesh. Last night we filled the giant drinking water jug - more than five gallons for the two people who'll be at home today. We've got plenty of quick and easy foods around, so we shouldn't have to cook much. Plants are all watered thanks to Mother Nature's help (again) yesterday. We should be all set, right?

Uh-uh. This morning I woke up early and shot out of bed like a rocket, a host of things racing through my head. Ohmygosh!! What if the toilets need extra flushing today? What if we spill something in the refrigerator and need to clean it up? What if something gooey like corn syrup or molasses leaks in the cupboard and we need to wipe it out? What if the dog steps in her own poo and we need to wash her paws? What if it rains again and the floors get all muddy and I want to mop them? What if I didn't get all the laundry done over the weekend? What if...?

Take away my water, and suddenly all the things I'd never clean anyway on a Monday become vitally important - and urgently dirty.

As soon as we think we can't have something we begin to need it more than ever.

Why are human being like that, anyway? As soon as we think we can't have something we begin to need it more than ever. As soon as we think that someone is going to horn in on something we feel we have a right to, we become possessive and greedy.

Joseph's brothers thought they needed that awesome coat of his so badly that they threw him in a cistern. Then they sold him into slavery (better than killing him, which was their original plan). So, what happened to that all-important coat after all? Did it bring them happiness? Prosperity? Influence? Security? There's no more mention of it in the Bible after that fateful day.

This morning while rushing around filling pots and pails, I kicked the bucket and a large amount of water spilled all over the floor. It was about ten minutes before 8am and I flew into a tizzy. I'd lost some of my precious water! Would I have time to sop up the flood and refill my bucket before the water was turned off?

Prophetic, priestly, and heroic attachments.

As I was sopping and wringing, I thought about the connotation we have for "kicking the bucket". Those who've been around as long as me will remember that "kick the bucket" can also mean to die.

What if I'd kicked the bucket in the connoted sense? Would all of that water hoarding have done any good? Not a bit. In fact, in a figurative sense, it would have been all water down the drain.

What we perceive as a need, what we try to possess, what we try to own, what we try to build, what we feel we have a right to here on earth is really just...a bucket of water that can be kicked over at any moment.

Jesus taught the Apostles (and us) about this:

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

(Mt. 6:8-12)

Our Father and Founder taught us about this, too. He referred to as prophetic, priestly, and heroic attachments. Prophetic attachment leads us to see the entire world around us, with all of its peoples and all of its happenings as little messages about God, His perfection, and His plans. Priestly attachment leads us to see that all of creation – animate and inanimate – must have a share in the praise of God and therefore must constantly be offered to Him in the spirit of consecration and thanksgiving. Heroic attachment leads us to see the world with a divine indifference. While we care about the people, events and things around us, we’re ready to let go of them at any moment if God wills it. So, if we kick the bucket either actually or connotatively, we can allow circumstances to transpire in joyful freedom.

Today I kicked the bucket in one sense, but perhaps I should put the cleaning rags down and think about kicking the bucket in another sense. After all, it’s just water down the drain.



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