Friday, February 22, 2013

I'm full...of what?

I recently saw an image that depicts an interesting spin on the the glass half full or half empty supposition. It's likely neither new or original, but it got me thinking.

The image says, "Technically, the glass is always full."

My knee-jerk reaction was, "What smart-ass wrote that?" Swiftly followed by, "Why wasn't I clever enough to think of that?" A quick search on the ol' inter-web revealed it's not new, and it's entirely possible the question was originally a trick question with "always full" being the correct answer. It's optimist vs. pessimist philosophical view may be a later variation—likely promoted and perpetuated by people who don't like trick questions.

Back to my (hopefully) more relevant thoughts on this. If our proverbial cup (cf. Psalm 23:5) is always full, what is it full of? Ideally, it's so full of God's love and grace it overflows. I'm not there yet, and I venture a guess you're not either.

It can be full of two things: virtue or vice (a.k.a grace or sin). Each can go by various aliases. The names don't change the reality they are in direct competition with one another. They can exist together, but they cannot intermingle any more than water and oil.

One's cup is full of whatever you put into it (deep, huh?). And you can only make room for what you want in it by getting rid of what you don't want in it. For argument's sake, let's say the air in the cup is sin or vice and water is grace or virtue (it helps with the runneth over imagery).

Every act of selfishness or anger, lie (no matter how white), our greed, envy and vanity—every sin—evaporates some water, leaving us with less to quench the life our souls desire. And the less we have, the drier our mouths get. It's kinda like that itch that you didn't know was there until you thought about being itchy, and the more you think about not scratching the itchier it gets. Eventually our bodies become dehydrated; we get more and more starved for the life-giving water of God's grace and mercy—Jesus himself.

Conversely, if we want to get rid of the air, we'd either need to create a vacuum or add more water. Since life doesn't happen in a vacuum, adding more water seems more plausible. Drop by drop, good deed by good deed, decision to love by decision to love, we can fill our cup with cool, refreshing, thirst quenching, living water.

Fortunately for us, the downward spiral of sin isn't self-perpetuating to the point we totally dry-up and turn to dust (unless we let it). God is always offering grace, the strength to add drops of water to our cup. The strength to put the needs of our spouse, children, friends, co-workers, and enemies ahead of our own desires that adds one more drop of water to our cup. And each drop makes it easier to make the choice to add more drops.

Better yet, we have the oasis of sacramental confession. It's the trump card, the ace in the hole, the garden hose that's always on and refills our cup. AND there's eucharist that literally feeds us, quenches us, fills us.

The choice is yours. What are you going to fill your cup with? Life, no matter your vocation, offers many chances every day to add drops of water to your cup. How are you going to respond?

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may we accept the grace given us, so that with you, our cups may overflow for all eternity.

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