Buckets of Emptiness

“Contrary to all logic and reason – emptiness hurts.  You would not believe the pain and the suffering that can come from a thing which, by all accounts, is not even there.” – Ranata Suzuki

“We are all after something that makes the empty spaces in us make sense.” – Faraway

Ranata Suzuki is right.  How can something empty, something that by definition contains nothing and is lacking of any meaning, sincerity, or any kind of content – how can it be so weighty and so burdensome?  How can the void left by emptiness be so filled with heaviness of heart that it seems impossible to carry?

Right now, in one of the many buckets we all carry around with us in this life, I feel an emptiness like I never have before.  In all the years I have lived, this particular bucket has never felt so void, but yet at the very same time, so heavy and packed with emotion. This bucket has been dry and empty before, but never in this way – in a way that almost seems irreversible.

Buckets??  What do you mean by buckets?

Each of us has several.  These buckets represent areas of our lives that are either overflowing, half full, or empty of what once resided there, or maybe never resided there at all.

We each have quite a few relationship buckets – spouses, friends, parents, children, and colleagues.  We can have a job or vocation bucket, a financial bucket, a health bucket, etc.

Here are some things to consider about each of these buckets: 

  • There is a human component to each of them – requiring cooperation, collaboration, and assistance from ourselves and others to aid in keeping them full and overflowing.
  • When a particular bucket of ours is empty, we have nothing to pour out into the buckets of others and vice versa.
  • Full, overflowing buckets represent blessings and abundance in that particular area – making them easy to carry and almost effortless to pour – filling the buckets of others.  Oddly enough, the fuller the bucket, the less weighty it becomes. Dry, empty ones represent voids, suffering, hurt or lack.  The weightiness of their emptiness is almost indescribable.

Think of how an inconsiderate spouse, a best friend who isn’t a friend anymore, or a parent who has passed on can empty those particular relationship buckets.  Each of those buckets has a name on them – a name that cannot be removed or erased – one you will carry with you the rest of your life.  The relationship buckets of parents and children are priceless and irreplaceable.  When these buckets are empty, there is a dryness and a void that is hard to put into words – a weightiness beyond description. 

When a spouse gives up or leaves, that bucket and their name attached to it just doesn’t disappear or get tossed aside.  Whether you want it or not, you carry that bucket with you the rest of your journey here – and because it’s empty, there’s a burden with a load to bear that comes with it.

It’s easy to see how our buckets that deal with health and finances become cumbersome when they are half full or near empty.  Lately, my own job bucket has almost emptied out – drained by corporate greed and policies that devalue the individual – making numbers and productivity more important than people.  Every time I walk through the door, the weight of the empty bucket I carry around makes the work even harder to accomplish.

How can one deal with (as well as carry) all these buckets of emptiness?  After all, you can see by now that we all carry several.  The indifferent employer, the death of a child, and the relationship that has left us feeling lost and worthless.  The parent who is dying, the friend who doesn’t care about us anymore, and the business that is a struggle to keep going.  We have buckets and buckets of emptiness that we carry around all at once.

Even certain people, family members, or friends who are carrying around empty buckets of their own have a way of draining our own buckets – their own emptiness syphoning what little happiness or fulfillment we have attempted to acquire ourselves. I know in my heart I have negatively impacted friends and family in this regard – draining their buckets because of the emptiness I was experiencing.

Here is the good news:  We each have been given a bucket at birth with the Creator’s name on it.  It is the largest bucket we possess.  Unlike the other buckets we mentioned that require a human element or connection associated with them, this bucket can ONLY BE FILLED by the Creator.

It is simple and effortless to fill.  All we need to do is ask and be willing to receive and He has promised us to keep it overflowing with goodness, strength and wisdom.  Even though filling it up is an easy task, we can choose to purposefully keep it empty.  Many, many people do.  They either dismiss its significance or don’t believe they even have one in the first place.

But like I mentioned earlier, each of us has been given this bucket – this empty vessel or void that only God Himself can fill.  This is a part of His intended design – one that inherently draws us to Him.  It is why no aspect of this worldly existence, no relationship, job, or finance bucket can possibly bring us lasting peace, contentment, or fulfillment. 🙂

When our Creator bucket is empty, it becomes the weightiest emptiness one can experience.  It becomes a void in our life that nothing else can take its place.  Since it is the largest one we possess, when it overflows, it spills over into all the others.

If we take time each day to pray, to meditate, to listen and to watch how God is at work in our life, we are filling up the Creator bucket!  It begins to overflow – spilling over into every other aspect of our lives.

When the relationship bucket is empty, we trust God is at work within it – helping us to make it stronger, better, and more vibrant.  When our health bucket is dry, we know that the Great Physician has the power to heal us – to work miracles.  And if He chooses not to, we trust He is in control and knows what lies ahead for us.  We have faith that His purposes never fail.

When our child or a parent is gone, a bucket that can never be replaced, we know God is with them and we will see them again someday.  When the job bucket has emptied, we begin to see how God uses us to change our work environment for good – helping others in the process.

Remember my personal bucket that I shared earlier – the one that seems irreversible?  Well, if my Creator bucket is overflowing, then I begin to realize that NOTHING is impossible with Him, that He is intricately involved in everything that transpires (every step and movement I take – each synchronicity and the timing behind it), and He has a plan that centers around my welfare and the welfare of others.  He is THAT loving, THAT gracious, THAT kind, and THAT good!

Because the Creator bucket is overflowing, it naturally spills over to the lowest points – to the buckets of mine that are at their lowest levels – the ones that are heaviest with emptiness.

Are any of your buckets empty today my friend?

 I have many that are half full, shallow, and some that are hopelessly dry like I mentioned.  When mine are empty, I can’t fill up anyone else’s buckets.  It is why those of us that lean on being filled by this world, by others, or in our own strength never seem to become full or anywhere near overflowing.

If you feel the weightiness of emptiness, concentrate on filling the largest bucket you possess – the Creator’s bucket that’s designed to be filled only by Him.  When that bucket is filled to the brim and running over, watch how it begins to affect your relationships, your job, your health, and your well-being.  Feel the peace that flows.  Watch how life begins to change.  Experience how faith and trust can take what is heavy with emptiness and fill it up to overflowing!

“It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself” – Mother Teresa

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