The Empty Cup of Kindness

by Lesli Hill

I had a moment this week to think about the cup of kindness. That full, warm and comforting offering from family, friends, or even strangers can touch your heart and feed your soul. As I think through all the emotional support needed by people who live with pain, a vision of an empty cup comes into my mind.  It just seems to fall perfectly into the emotional terrain of my own pain.

Visualize for a moment a delicate bone china teacup or even a thick and heavy pottery coffee mug fresh from the potter’s wheel. Now, imagine that you have been given an empty cup by someone who cares about you. At first, you don’t quite understand. You feel that you don’t have any energy to fill another person’s cup. What are they thinking? You need them to help YOU feel better.

But, imagine that the empty cup gently offered to you is an invitation to pour your pain into it, an unspoken covenant your friend, a loved one or even a stranger is making with you to hold your pain for a while. Isn’t that what we are often searching for? No cup of advice. No cup etched with a directive to look at something positive in your day.

Just a cup.  An empty cup held by someone who cares about you. It will hold your pain so that it won’t spill out into your scary dark space. Take it when you need to. Offer it when you can.