April 1, 2011

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Make time to ‘fill the well’ in your relationship with God

Patti LambWeekday mornings at our house are a bit chaotic. Despite the fact that school starts every day at the same time, we are inevitably leaving our home in a mad dash at the last possible second.

It is a tall order to get out the door on time with coats that are properly zipped, backpacks containing the right papers and lunch boxes packed with healthy contents. It is a bonus if our shoes are on the right feet.

It seems that mornings routinely sneak up on us, and our beat-the-clock mentality is too quickly becoming commonplace.

One morning last week, we were running even more behind schedule than usual. We sat in traffic behind another car, whose driver had apparently left his home with plenty of time to reach his destination. He was moving slowly. I sat stalled in the driver’s seat, growing impatient and mentally tallying another “tardy.”

Hearing my nervous finger tapping on the steering wheel, my 3-year-old daughter, Margaret, sensed my frustration and yelled out from the backseat, “Step on it, buddy!”

My 6-year-old son, Henry, was in complete agreement.

“Yeah, we are late, so let’s mooo-ve it!” he bellowed.

I shook my head, and wondered where the kids come up with this stuff.

Then something occurred to me: You only get out what you put in.

I am not sure why I expect it to be any different with my children. They are like little parrots. They repeat what they hear, and they live what they learn.

Often, I forget the simple, elementary truths and have to be reminded of them by my children. One of those truths is that we get out what we put in.

I don’t expect my car to run on an empty gas tank. I understand that I have to fill it in order for the car to go.

And I don’t expect my refrigerator to automatically restock itself. I know that the fridge will only contain what I put inside. The same logic applies to my bank account. I observe and accept the basic principle that I must put something in if I want to take something out.

I make regular stops to the grocery and fill the gas tank without thinking twice. But I am not as consistent when it comes to making time to stop and talk to God. I forget that I can only get out of my relationship with God what I put into it.

I once heard it described as “filling the well.” We must fill the well so that it is not dry when we go back to draw from it.

We must nurture our relationships with God and with others or they could dry up. Love takes work. Relationships take work. We must tend to them regularly.

When I stop to think that I might only get out in proportion to what I have put in, I am suddenly willing to be a lot more giving and a little less taking.

A few more weeks of Lent remain. I am hopeful that I can use these weeks leading up to Easter as time to fill the well. I plan to take a few minutes every day to spend some time with God—whether that is in the form of talking to him or serving someone in his name.

My hope is that this small Lenten resolution will grow and bloom beyond Easter.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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