I remember the song I sang when I was a little girl. The lyrics were, “There’s a hole in the bucket, Dear Liza, Dear Liza” and the female response was, “Well, fix it, Dear Henry, Dear Henry, well, fix it!” Even then I didn’t get the impression the hole in the bucket was getting fixed.
The song brought up images of a couple trying to work together to create a vessel that would hold water. The rain bucket seemed to be a good metaphor for the container of marriage.
I remember falling in love so well. The feeling was like storm clouds approaching with such intensity that I knew in my gut it was going to rain. I was filled with excitement, hoping to be sublimely drenched, to be bathed and baptized, and emerge as the person I wanted to become. Old patterns could be washed away and a clean surface prepared for a better life. But does that really happen? What can we expect when the rain stops?
The bucket symbolizes the container of marriage and the water is the experience of marriage. The rain falls from the sky and lands on the roof of the home the couple has built together. The water flows over the dirt and into a bucket meant to store the sacred water. From that moment on it is no longer in perfect form.
“To have and to hold till death do us part.” As a young bride I believed these vows meant I will commit my life to our relationship until I leave this physical body. But life has a way of expanding our perspectives. Falling in love with another person is wonderful, but it is really about falling in love with the potential of ourselves, of who we might become.
As we grow within ourselves we begin to question if our relationships are reflecting the same growth and a similar story. Often we project our own struggles onto our partner and fault them in their journey. They become villains in our martyrdom. We blame one another for our inability to integrate our own shadows.
Our rain bucket is filled to the brim with the essence of who we are. The water is holy in the sense that it is a watermark of love. It contains a timeline of memories and the experience of our days. In our relationship we often think in terms of the other person. But if we walk to the edge and peer into the bucket we know we would see our own reflection, not the face of the other. We see our own face casting the truth on a mirror of still water.
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