20/21 November 2020, 4/5 Kislev 5781

From Zoe Jacobs:

“You cannot serve from an empty vessel” – Eleanor Brown, American author.

At first we had lockdown anxiety. The newness, the constant change, the sudden and immediate danger made our heads spin and our stomachs churn. Looking back at March – those days where streets were empty but for one-hour walks – feels a world away, despite only being eight months.

But now it’s lockdown blues. The exhaustion and weariness of keeping on keeping on. It is funny how much we get used to. If you sit with a tiger for long enough, do you forget the danger? And is that bad – or just human nature ensuring we always take the next step?

The world doesn’t seem to be offering many vessel-filling moments, just now. I think we are all feeling a little run down, our patience thinner, our resilience softer, our stamina shortened.

Eleanor Brown says we cannot pour from an empty vessel. The lesser-known end to that quote is “When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow”. She expects overflow?! What about when there’s a global pandemic and we have to live with a half-full vessel? Do we pour, just more cautiously? Do we wait for a more reassuring quantity of liquid before giving it away? Do we pour generously, in good faith that more will come?

Just now, sitting tight, acknowledging the exhaustion and fear, it seems all three of those options are happening and are valid.

At other times, we rally, get up and walk on. From the #CaringForCarers campaign, to the Black Lives Matter movement, people are pouring their love and energy into important and urgent campaigns with radical faith that soon their cup will overflow again.

I guess for most of us, most of the time, we sit in the middle. We are pouring more cautiously than usual, giving love to those closest to us, finding small moments to connect.

Each vessel is our own. Each choice is our own. Let’s be kind to ourselves.

Shabbat shalom

Community Education and Development Manager