As we move into the month of November, our ministry theme is “Nourish.” Of course, I go back to the etymology, or origin of the word. From Old Latin and French way back on the 1300s, the word nourish came from words meaning to feed, bring up, and promote the development of a child, a young animal, a feeling*. While all of those are important ways to nourish, I was particularly struck by the fact that in addition to what we think of traditionally as nourishing our children and our bodies, also included feelings! Then from the late 1300s, the adjective nourishing also struck a chord as its meaning is “promoting growth or strength.”
So many times, we forget to nourish ourselves in all ways. We may not eat well, we may not rest our bodies to replenish our strength, and we quite regularly ignore our feelings. What strange beings we are sometimes.
It was in this space that I found myself in September. Drained, overtaxed, underfed, overstretched, dehydrated…MALNOURISHED. My body, my brain, and my heart were malnourished. I tried functioning through it for a while, until I realized that my core purpose is to model for others how to fill their cup…and my cup was bone dry.
After realizing I needed some basic nourishment – food and rest – it became clear that my head and heart were just as important. I embarked on a 6-week journey of soul-searching, trauma-facing, and healing. In addition to tending to my physical body, I attended an Intensive Outpatient Program for women’s trauma, where I not only brought my head and heart back from the brink, I also gained a ton of skills to make sure I don’t find myself at that brink again…or if I do, I will be better prepared.
No matter our age, no matter our race, no matter our gender…we all have things that have caused cracks in the façade of the cup we hold. For a time, those cracks are barely noticeable, and the cup stays relatively full. As more time passes, leaks begin to form in the cracks. The cracks spread, become deeper, and suddenly your cup is unable to stay full…and it isn’t quite so lovely anymore. Without some intervention, you may lose the cup altogether.
A while ago, I gave a Time for All Ages where I talked about the Japanese practice of Kintsugi, where the cracks in pots and cups are filled with gold, like in this picture to the right. With Kintsugi, the “ugly” cracks are beautifully healed, and the new creation is even more beautiful than the original.
I believe this is what we do when we take the time to nourish ourselves. The cracks will always be there, but they can be healed with something beautiful. And the result is a stronger, healthier – more authentic even – version of ourselves.
My calling in life is to nourish others. To “promote growth and strength,” as the etymology says. And now I know that that nourishing includes me. I must fill my cup (and make sure I’ve tending to the cracks) before I can help fill others’ cups. I look forward to being back to do this again.
So let me remind you, that nourishing includes you, too. How full is your cup? Have you given yourself rest? How have you tended to the cracks? Have you left pains long unattended? How is it with your heart?
Our Faith calls us to nourish ourselves as well as others. What can we do to fill the cups? To seal the cracks? To come out of our trials an even more beautiful creation than we began!
*Etymology information from https://www.etymonline.com/word/nourish