Lessons From A Bucket of Water…Again…

For such a lowly utensil, this bucket has taught me quite a lot oh…

bucket of water

How did bucket lesson #2 come in? Well, I wanted to fetch water (no duh) with a tiny bucket recently. The bucket was so puny it could fit into my bathroom’s sink, so I decided to fetch the water from there.

Now, as it turned out, water flowed slowly from the faucet that day. With the faucet being so close to the bucket, the echoes being made as the water driiiiiiiiiped against the insides kept me aware of the water level. Until this lesson happened:

dripping faucet bucket of water

pictured here: a dripping faucet.
NOT pictured here: MY dripping faucet

See, I was listening and listening to the slow driiiiiiiiip until I heard…nothing. No more sound. I thought this meant the bucket was filled, so I immediately went to remove it, and I discovered: it was still filling up. The water level was still rising, but now – thanks to the proximity of the tap to the bucket and the fact that it was driiiiiiiiiiiiiiiping and not gushing – it was doing so without a sound.

And wisdom sunk in!

I realized that…wait…I feel a story will explain the lesson more:

Here, we have a growing child aching for attention from mum and dad. Sadly, dad’s too busy, unaware or absent (usual case) and mum’s too busy being mad, indifferent or sad at dad for being too busy, unaware or absent (usual case). And so, the driiiiiping begins:

missing appointments and dates…

broken promises…

weak character displays mislabeled as ‘parenting’…

…the child is slowly filling, with disappointment. And initially, he/she demonstrates this gradual filling by different means, but the most usual is by rebelling. The young rebel – either by extrovert shenanigans or introvert seclusion – echoes (indirectly) that they are hurting, and need this bucket to be emptied. So immediately, mum and dad have a talk with each other, realize that they aren’t doing right by the child, draw him/her close, apologize and assure him/her that they love them and are willing to prove it, doing so with some sacrifices and change in schedules.

Ah, who are we kidding? Of course that is not what will likely follow, quite tragically. What will most likely happen is that mum will report the child to dad (when she’s ‘had enough’), and both will read their ward the riot act. And just when the child thought they’d get some kind of breakthrough, they got…more disappointment.


Now, the child’s bucket reaches the point where they aren’t yet full, but they aren’t making a fuss anymore. Because it’s not full, things can still be remedied. Ironically, any one else would be at work trying to rectify the situation, or at least be running for cover from what they know will turn out to be a bad situation, but the parents in this scenario are blissfully unaware. Noting their ward no longer ‘reacts’ to their irresponsibility, they congratulate: “You’re finally growing up!” They equate cynicism with life experience (Personally, I’m surprised how many ‘mature’ people do this!) They think their child has finally adapted and ‘learnt the rules’; they don’t know he/she is oh so slowly reaching a point where they can no longer be disappointed…


Eventually, in a moment no one knows – except God, for most likely not even the child will be able to recall this precise moment in the future – their bucket gets full. Disappointment gauge is at maximum. Any new disappointment from the parents is no longer met with anger or tears: now, it’s met with a calm, almost listless attitude – the kind of deceitful repose that embraces the bomb expert watching the ticking time bomb work so noiselessly, knowing full well that from the silent device, disaster will be triggered at any moment…

So how does this story end? Well, full buckets have to be emptied somewhere. It’s no different here:

becoming an abusive, insensitive or absent husband or wife…

becoming the same thing to their kids…

becoming indifferent to societal gains and struggles…

becoming a terrorist…or even worse: a religious nut (for this one misuses God’s name to perpetrate oppression, even terrorism, AND PEOPLE SUPPORT IT)

becoming unable to trust another human being ever again…

…or the worst of all: they do absolutely nothing, but continue bearing the ache and hurt inwardly for the rest of their lives.

How it occurs may differ, but it’s still emptying: all that ache and disappointment has to go somewhere. No surprise, the parents see the emptying, and they still read the riot act! “Why are you behaving this way?! We sent you to school/gave you a home/(*insert societal responsibility here*)…you better shape up, for we didn’t raise you to be like this!” The child, now an adult, of course, looks on, forlorn: they know they are only emptying what was filled into them in all those quiet moments…

For sure, this analogy doesn’t only apply to raising children, but to even more cases:

the gradual separation of friends…

the gradual killing of a dream…

evil communication slowly corrupting good manners…

I personally believe that there are some people who haven’t encountered Christ not because the Gospel isn’t true, but because they are too full of the wrong perspective from bad examples of followers of Jesus to listen to the true Word.

Understandably, our environment is not the decider of our future – we are. Just because someone filled your bucket with hurt doesn’t mean you must empty this hurt on others – the dispersing can be done in a number of healthy manners, such as forgiving.
But you see? That requires conscious effort: the conscious admittance that you don’t like what’s in the bucket, but that you also want it emptied properly and safely. And how many people actually take the path to even think such, let alone follow through and do it?

Furthermore, I can’t but admit this analogy also applies to good stuff too! Like when someone starts filling you with love and concern…at the initial stage you continue voicing it out in gratitude and adoration. But after a while, you get so full, you don’t even know where to begin! (although in this case, I strongly advice that you continue voicing out your gratitude, else you fill your giver’s bucket with disappointment).

Well, I guess the way to end this post is with this admonition:

What has been silently driiiiiping into your bucket all this while? Just because it’s quiet or noiseless or “doesn’t bother me anymore” doesn’t mean it doesn’t warrant some investigation…in fact: it may mean just the opposite.

*Similar Post: Lessons From A Bucket Of Water



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