The other day while sitting at an intersection, I saw a man holding a sign, sitting on a bucket. The sad part is that I didn’t think about the man obviously struggling through a difficult time in his life. I thought about the bucket. It started me thinking about what that bucket was meant to be used for originally. I thought about our lives and how different they have become by the time we are “my age”. Like the bucket, we started out as one thing, filled, maybe emptied and filled up again with something different or maybe still just empty.
Tonight, I decided to go out in my yard and look around for a 5 gallon bucket. How sad. They were everywhere. My husband is quite the builder, contractor, and collector. 47 buckets later I decided he was a collector of 5 gallon buckets but none the less. It deepened my thought about the bucket. Some of them had old oil in them, some had new paint, some dirt, screws and bolts, and many of them were empty. None of them looked like each other except for their size and handle; they were all different. Some had labels, some of them were faded. Some of them were gray, some white (I think), and of course some were orange. Some of them still had the metal handle but the comfort plastic grip was cracked, gone, dry rotted from the hot desert sun. The bucket themselves were still tough, intact, but mostly empty. While they seemed different in their color, content, and condition they were actually the same. Aren’t we all like that. Maybe we aren’t where we started, the age and hot desert sun have given us experience and character which is a good thing. Maybe we aren’t filled with what was there originally, maybe we have been refilled. Renewed. Recreated. Second and third chances. I think about a few friends who have experienced divorce or divorces. I think about how people I know recently have experienced loss, getting emptied. Or those people at this time of year experience joy with graduations, weddings, and spring time new beginnings; getting filled. I think about my completely different life from where I was headed 18 years ago. I was empty and then restored. Finally, I thought about that man on the bucket. He really is no different than the bucket he was sitting on. Maybe empty right now, but with room to be filled. He really is no different than you or me.