Pour Into

Pour Into: To spend large amounts of time and energy on someone in order to make a difference in their life. (For example, “As a youth pastor, he constantly pours into his students by going to their soccer games, taking them out for pizza, and listening to them talk about their problems.)

First, there is the emptying.

The baby pool on our deck is big and round, and (depending on how long it’s been since we changed the water), lukewarm and full of bugs.

You can’t just lift the edge and let the old water cascade over the side. You have to begin by emptying most of it by hand, one old ice cream pail at a time.

Fill. Lift. Pour. There is something peaceful to me about the way the water looks as I fling it out into the air and watch it fall heavy on the grass.

It would be easier to pour it through the deck boards and into the rock below, but it seems like such a waste during these ninety-degree weeks, when our grass is shriveling in on itself and my husband is getting up at night during commercials to move the sprinklers around the yard.

So I lift it. I pour it. The water sloshes out over my arms and my clothes, and I am soaked in it. Dane gets his sand bucket and “helps,” dousing my legs completely, covering our deck with water.

There is no other way to do it, no shortcut, no way to hurry it along. Just bucket after bucket of water released from the pool into the air. Lift and pour, lift and pour until the bucket barely scrapes up anything, until the water is down to almost nothing.

Even then it’s still so heavy as I wrestle the pool onto its side and pour out what remains.

Then, there is the filling.

I use the hose, of course, but the water is icy cold. It is make-your-brain-hurt cold. Straight-from-the-pipes, hypothermia cold.

I fill mixing bowls with hot water from the kitchen sink and carry them out, one at a time. It is slow, careful work. It is dozens of trips from the sink to the deck, watching for little bodies careening. How many buckets of scalding water does it take to temper the ice? To make it bearable for tiny hands and small, chubby feet? Pour. Pour. Pour. Pour.

And what I’m trying to say is that there is a weight to all this. Water is heavy, and as you lift bucket after bucket over the deck railing, your arms burn with it. As you carry one bowl after another across the kitchen, it feels tedious and wildly impractical.

What I’m saying is that love is heavy and hard and monotonous. Your arms burn as you hand others what they need. It is not just pouring. It is lift, pour, lift, pour, lift, pour. It feels endless. It feels like you are wasting your life in all of this carrying and filling and pouring, pouring, pouring.

It’s worth it, of course, in the end. Nothing feels more like love than water, completely around you. It wraps around your body, your hair. You duck underneath it, and for a moment, it is totally silent. Your children splash in it, and is falls over your face like a gift.

You are made of this. Water. Dust and breath and water. And for a moment, you remember. For a  moment you feel it all the way to your bones.

The bugs will kamikaze into this just-filled pool over the next two or three nights. It will be 90 degrees. Then 92. Then 100.

The water will warm to unbearable. It will grow fuzzy at the plastic pool bottom. The dead bugs will float, again, along the top, and my boys will pick them out and hold them in their hands.

I will have to pour all that water out. Watch it hang, suspended in the air and then fall.

Pour, pour, pour it in again.

14 thoughts on “Pour Into

  1. You are made of this. Water. Dust and breath and water.

    Oh yeah! And when we pour our love into each other, we are investing … but not with an expectation of reward or return. We are pouring a little of our selves into the life of another. And in that work of lifting each other up and pouring into each other we become part of their stories … and they become part of ours.

    and maybe that’s a little part of becoming who we were created to be.

    Love this, Addie (as usual). Thanks for the drink on this hot day.

    1. Thanks Jim. Love the thoughts about how all this pouring out and in is part of our “becoming.” Beautiful.

    1. You are so kind, Lore. I feel the same sentiment with your blog all the time. 🙂

  2. I want to comment because this post is so beautiful, but I don’t have anything to say except wow. So there it is: wow. 🙂

  3. Thank you for this. My little ones are two and five. One of them is usually awake at 5:00 a.m. so morning writing time is out. My five year old doesn’t nap, so afternoon writing time is out, unless I turn the TV on…but my son loves to build lego with me and kindergarten starts soon so I usually say yes. 🙂 I’m usually falling asleep with one of the kids at bedtime, so evening writing time is often out. Your post encourages me to actually find a babysitter for a few hours each week. I’m “just” a blogger but have dreams of so much more. I identify with so much that you write about. 🙂

  4. Lovely, Addie. I like the way your piece really captures the way we sometimes feel poured out, like we just keep emptying ourselves, and surely we will run out, and there will be nothing left. There is pouring out. But there is also being filled, and we have to remember that when we feel tapped out. Thanks for reminding me.

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