Flow like water
“Water has taught me how to be in the flow, to release and cleanse what no longer serves me or us. There is power in letting go what is not ours to carry, or what others, in their unskillfulness, have tried to place upon us.” —Brenda Salgado.
As we continue reflecting on what we will carry with us into 2024 and what we will leave behind, I invite us to consider:
How will I embody the vision and mission of United Women in Faith in the Pacific Northwest as I show up in different spaces? Is it participating in the reading program? Having more connection points with one another? Finding additional opportunities to lead, speak, or write? Recognizing the gifts of each person I encounter?
What does embodying that vision and mission look, sound, and feel like? Draw it out, write it, sing it, model it with playdough. Then, share that reflection with someone.
What will you carry? What will you leave behind? What will you help others carry? What will you ask others to help you carry?
Remember, you are not alone.
Spiritual Growth Coordinator
United Women in Faith
The Celtic approach to God opens up a world in which nothing is too common to be exalted, and nothing is so exalted that it cannot be made common. — Esther de Waal
Introduction to The Cup of Our Life
I remember vividly the day I first began pondering the cup as a symbol of my inner journey. It happened on a Wednesday morning as I sat down for a regularly scheduled midweek prayer with the two co-pastors of Windsor Heights Lutheran Church. On that particular morning, Norm had asked Dick and me to bring our empty coffee mugs to prayer. As we settled in, Norm invited us to hold our cups, to look into them, and to think about our spiritual lives. At that moment, the symbolism of the cup awakened me to the deeper part of myself. What happened was amazing. I had no sooner looked into the empty cup when tears began forming in my eyes. What was this about? Why this great surge of sadness? Where did this deep emotion come from? As I struggled with my tears and continued looking into the empty cup, I discovered that I was feeling much more spiritually drained than I had realized. Looking into the empty cup was like looking into my hollow self. Since that time, I have found the cup to be a powerful teacher for my inner life. The ordinariness of the cup reminds me that my personal transformation occurs in the common crevices of each day. The cup is an apt image for the inner processes of growth. The cup has been a reminder of my spiritual thirst. As I’ve held it, filled it, drunk from it, emptied it, and washed it, I’ve learned that it is through my ordinary human experiences that my thirst for God is quenched. In the cup, I see life, with its emptiness, fullness, brokenness, flaws, and blessings.
A cup is a container for holding something. Whatever it holds has to eventually be emptied out so that something more can be put into it. I have learned that I cannot always expect my life to be full. There has to be some emptying, some pouring out if I am to make room for the new. The spiritual journey is like that—a constant process of emptying and filling, of giving and receiving, of accepting and letting go. The cup has taught me many valuable lessons for my spiritual growth. I have learned that my life holds stale things that need to be discarded and that sometimes, my life feels as wounded as a broken cup. I have learned that I have flaws, chips, and stains, just as any well-used cup may have, but that these markings of a well-traveled life need not prevent me from being a valuable gift for others. I have learned that the contents of my life are meant to be constantly given and shared in a generous gesture of compassion, just as the main purpose of a cup is to have its contents given away. I have especially learned gratitude for all those moments when the unexpected has transformed my life into an abundant cup of blessings. Notice the rim on a cup. It is circular, with no beginning or end, a symbol of wholeness. In the circle, all is connected to form an oneness. The spiritual life is a journey toward becoming whole, a day-to-day movement of continually growing into the person we are meant to be. The cup’s rim or circle daily reminds me of this longing for wholeness and connectedness.
Rupp O.S.M., Joyce. The Cup of Our Life: A Guide to Spiritual Growth (p. 1-2). Ave Maria Press. Kindle Edition.