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We draw to the close of another school year, and I can’t decide if it feels like nine months have passed, or nine days. The way time suspends like a hammock, the way it marches forward like ants in a line.

Sometimes I see the calendar and my own soul as a weather map, clusters of red, blue and green — thought-dream cyclones touching down in the midwest, anxieties building just south, comfortable mid-70’s in the valley.

Summer stretches her arms with a nudge and promise, and we imagine all she might hold. I see her carrying books, loads of good books. (I almost can’t see for all the books.) And there’s camping. Hiking. Bike rides. Sleeping in. Baking, not caring a scrap that we’re over-heating the house. Sprinklers. Old TV series. Lemonade stands. Friends. Family. Evening walks around the block with our ice cream. A Larkin Stay-cation.

Of course it won’t be perfect, but haven’t we realized that’s highly overrated?

Lala cut a bunch of pieces of yellow paper, and put a smiley face on each one for all our stay-cation ideas because those kind of smiles remind her of summer, she said. Sici and J-Bird decorated a large container to hold all the ideas. Around here we’ve got so many ideas, and I’m realizing just how much that smacks of joy and hope, and childhood. Ideas aren’t tasks, ideas aren’t obligation.

Right now (among 3,000 other books), I’m reading Sue Bender’s Everyday Sacred, and it reminds me that it is. All of it, sacred.

God is God of the sabbath and God of the carpool. God is God of the laundry and God of shared tears. God is God of the victorious and God of the destitute. God is God of the filled bowl and of the empty.

Some days our bowls hold manna, what-is-it flakes of daily bread, and not a bit more. Other days, our bowls fill with sun-soaked fruit so abundant we stumble over ourselves to share their juice. Some days, we behold the shine of another’s bowl and are mesmerized by the way it catches glints of promise. Other days, we find ourselves so struck by the beauty of her cracked one, holding sorrows and passion, life and loss and pain as it does — see how it is all her offering, and it makes the breath catch.

Today, I’m asking the questions Sue Bender poses (the ones that remind me so much of Jesus’ question, What do you want me to do for you?), and I’m considering: What do you need in your bowl? What do you want in your bowl?

This week, I’ve felt the loss of missed connections with my girls and the soft-skinned glory of made ones, the gift of her authentic presence meeting mine, the frustrating wall of my limitations, the startling answers of long ago prayers. I’ve seen needs I can’t meet, people I love hurting, tender rain kissing peonies. As my circle expands and shrinks like breath in lungs, I’m asking, What can I pour from my bowl?

Sitting in the early morning light, poised on the rim of summer, Mumford & Sons galloping across the background, I’m remembering that we’ve got to be filled to pour out and that emptied bowls hold space to be filled again.

{Photo credit: Sici Larkin}

Linking with Lisha Epperson and Give Me Grace.

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