Buckets of Peaches

Let Your Bucket Down

Decisiveness.

It’s never been my strong suit. My overly analytical nature will turn an idea round and round in my head until I’ve lost all sense of direction. Taking the idiom “look before you leap” to a whole new level, I look, sit, ponder, mull, muse, woolgather, stew, and steep until I’m so full of new ideas that I never actually go anywhere.

I ask far too many questions, rely heavily on affirmation, and get spooked at the slightest criticism. As I’ve said before, fear tries to own me. Failure, or rather having the reputation of one, terrifies me, and keeps me from trying new things, putting myself out there, or admitting mistakes.

As a side note, forgive me for laying on the melancholy so thick lately. Writing helps me process and understand. A self-described list maker, I told my husband the reason behind my love of check-boxes one day; “It isn’t simply that I get an odd satisfaction from a row of neatly checked squares {and they must be check marks. x’s and lines don’t evoke quite the same feeling}. The pleasure is in the therapeutic listing of tasks that relieves my memory from having to hold on to them, juggle them, rehearse them.” It’s the same with ideas. There’s a remedy in writing, a medicine in prose. It takes the mind’s tangled web of confusion and straightens its loose strands into a network of words, sentences, and theories.

But it’s in the publishing of those newly birthed ideas that I shy away. Yesterday I mentioned that I had been praying about whether or not to continue blogging, what in the world my niche is, and if photography was something I should pursue. I brought it up with my husband and offered him a kiss for his thoughts {pennies are overrated}. Instead of handing me a rose and an answer {and I would have settled for a rose – actually a hydrangea or a peonie, but I digress}, he told me a story.

He looked at me with that smirk of his, one which silently stated I was taking myself far too seriously – again, asked me why the answer was so important to me, and followed his question and my stammering answer with this excerpt from Booker T. Washington’s speech calling his fellow-men to seize opportunity where it lay:

“A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal: ‘Water, water. We die of thirst.’ The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back: ‘Cast down your bucket where you are.’ A second time, the signal, ‘Water, send us water!’ went up from the distressed vessel. And was answered: ‘Cast down your bucket where you are.’ A third and fourth signal for water was answered: ‘Cast down your bucket where you are.’ The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River.”

“Why don’t you stop looking inward, stop looking beyond the horizon, and simply put your bucket down – right where you are”, my husband said. “You don’t know what you bring up until you cast it down and try. The worst that can happen is that you’ll have to throw it back and try again. Don’t get stuck in the analysis paralysis.”

He went on to encourage me that photography and writing is good, that I’m developing a talent for it, that I don’t need to know for sure whether or not it’s the absolute right thing for me forever. The fact that I’m enjoying it now and using it now is good enough.

He’s smart like that. I guess that’s why he’s a doctor.

Sometimes I also get frustrated that my “work” isn’t turning out exactly how I want it to, even though I haven’t been at this for long. If it doesn’t measure up to my idolized standard of perfection I fret over publishing it. But where would we be if we didn’t share the journey along the way? How would we encourage one another, learn from one another, and inspire each other if we hid the process and only showed the product? And would we ever show the product? Would our standard of perfection ever be achieved to the point where we could confidently showcase the result? For me, I think not.

My sweet Grandma Segar called me up today and gave me an update on her and Grandpa’s garden. They’re growing all sorts of fruit trees and bushes along with several vegetable plants. She went on and on about the glorious tomatoes they just harvested, all two of them. And I was wishing I had been at lunch that day. She told me about the weeds they had to pull and all the rain they’d had. One little piece of the story stood out to me as she spoke: the peach, the one and only peach they had seen this season. You see, the tree is newly planted, and this is its first summer. The peach was small, a little oddly shaped, and quite bitter. But accompanied with a lot of sugar, they enjoyed it and were glad to have it.

And it occurred to me, “I’m that young tree.” There’s a lot of weeds to pull, the rain has been a bit overwhelming, and my fruit isn’t what I hope at the moment. It’s a little rough around the edges, seemingly small and insignificant, not entirely sweet to the taste. But the encouragement you guys bring? It’s the sugar on top.

And I’m good with that. So I’ll throw down my bucket right here, right now, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll bring up peaches.

Linking up to Pencilled Daydream

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13 comments

  1. Loved reading your post! I can relate with indecisiveness…. and right now we are trying to pick a baby name…oh my! lol.Thanks for sharing : )

    1. Ashley!! Thank you for reading . . . and for the link up! I’m loving it so far. Glad I could participate. Picking out a girl name should be so fun! I remember doing that with the hubby. I’m sure your boys have a few suggestions of their own 😉

      1. Elias, our little 3 year old totally has a little oppinion on names. He is so cute.

  2. Keep up the good work!! You have a lovely blog that I am enjoying very much. Have a lovely evening, Laurie.

    1. Laurie that is so kind and a joy to hear!! Thank you for putting a smile on MY face tonight 😉

      1. You’re welcome!!! You deserve it 🙂

  3. Susanna, I can totally relate to how you feel! I love the story your husband told you. It’s an incredible illustration. It reminds me of the Bible story where the Lord asks the disciples to cast their nets into the water after they had not caught fish all day. Although they hadn’t had prior success, the Lord causes an overabundance of fish to be caught, when He told them to cast their net where they were at. I have to say that I am so thankful I found your blog. It is an incredible encouragement to me. You are incredibly talented writer. Your writing is full of life and emotion! I’m thankful the Lord led me to your blog for the encouragement and challenge it gives me every day! 🙂

    1. Yes!! I forgot to add that this is exactly what my mind went to as well when he shared that story. Remembering that Jesus knows His story from beginning to end and exactly where I fit in it gives me courage to let down my bucket/net, knowing that he’s in control of what comes up! Thank you for sharing that thought and encouragement here. Beautiful!

  4. Jessica Reinicke · · Reply

    Yes! So true! While I prefer little “x”s that fit just so within the box (corner to corner, without coloring outside the lines, as it were), that’s exactly it – that pleasure, no, RELIEF of being able to rest my spinning mind, knowing that the list is holding all those little details for me and I can think about what I’m DOING.

    Sounds like your husband is a wise man indeed.

    Beautiful writing.

    1. Jessica!! Your words are SO kind, and I totally respect your decision to go with x’s over check marks. They definitely have their advantages 😉 Thank you for reading and for taking the time to encourage me with your comment. Means so much!

  5. tricia segar · · Reply

    have to love that Daniel…thought to myself, “that is why he gets paid the big bucks!” lol. But, when his peaches come in, (but I degress). So proud of you. Indeed, your writing is fresh, straight from the heart, transparent and your illusions are delightfully real! It is a joy to read. I love Daniel’s wisdom. We don’t need to look a mile down the road. Just enjoy what the Lord has given you today. One thing I know from experience, it all become part of the web and woof of your life and will produce a tapestry of beauty that will surprise you!

    1. Love that last line mom! Thanks for the cheerleading 🙂

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