The Little Things Matter Too: Dishes and a Pitcher

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By Kelly Preston, Special to The Paper

There are times you see something that catches your eye and takes you back to your childhood.

This happened to me recently at a flea market. I saw this pitcher and knew I needed to have it. Although it’s a common pattern, it’s meaningful to me because it was the pattern of our everyday dishes while growing up. My mom loved the simplicity of these dishes, and we all loved the meals she served on them.

Mom loved to cook and bake, and she especially loved giving what she made to others. So when I saw this pitcher, not only did I think of my mom, but I also thought of this truth: in order to pour ourselves out to serve others in love, we must first be filled ourselves.

How do we fill ourselves? And with what do we fill ourselves?

These questions came to my mind as I looked more at this pitcher.

And to be honest, I thought of how my mom often struggled to fill herself. She was so committed to caring for her family and making sure we were filled up, but often to the detriment of herself.

It wasn’t until several challenging things in mom’s life, including a long, arduous battle with a rare cancer, that led her to a place of filling herself … taking better care of herself and enjoying time for herself.

Perhaps this sounds selfish. Filling yourself? Taking care of yourself? Enjoying time for yourself?

As I think back on my mom’s busy life raising four children, and when I reflect on my own life as a busy mom of four, I’m learning that it’s anything BUT selfish.

It’s an act of love … for oneself but especially for others.

Perhaps this is partly why Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

If I am truly and unconditionally going to love others, I have to fill myself as an act of love.

I must fill my mind with the truth of God’s Word. I must fill my body with healthy food, move it with physical activity, and give it plenty of rest. I must fill my soul with deep, authentic relationships that feed my spirit.

Then and only then can I pour myself out to serve and love others in the way they need and deserve.

Now when I look at this special flea market find filled with kitchen utensils next to my stove, I am daily reminded of my amazing mom. I am also reminded of my need as a mom and wife to fill myself up and take care of myself.

And if there’s ever been a year for us to consider our “pitchers,” it’s been 2020. COVID-19 has forced us not only to quarantine and ration toilet paper but also to examine how we fill ourselves up so we are better equipped to care for others.  My hope is that we’ll all do more of this, not only during a pandemic but every single day God gives us.

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Kelly Preston is a nurse-turned-stay-at-home-mom to four amazing and energetic children. Though she sometimes forgets to buy toilet paper amidst their busy schedules, Kelly finds time to run RACE for the Orphans, a non-profit focused on supporting adoptive families. She loves Jesus, people, a really good book, and pondering the little things.

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