My family is a medley of cultures so I have no idea when a household tradition sources back to a specific region of the world, or it’s something they made up.  There’s many I stopped practicing over the years, and many I have brought to my own home as law.

My least favorites are all the ones about how to rest a broom, and when to use one, and what cryptic things happen if you forget.

My favorite is:  Never return an empty bowl.

It’s a self-government I’ve brought with me everywhere, even in  prison.  It’s a contagious maxim. 

By the end of my time there, whenever I received a bowl back, it’d be washed, and there’d be something in it– a thank you note, a crayon, or a few packets of sweet-n-low.  I had given the bowl full of food because my fellow inmates didn’t have much, but it never came back without anything.

Empty is a lot like dark.  A candle in a room erases the dark, a flower in a bowl erases the empty.

It is or it isn’t.

In a way, every bit of generosity that comes your way is your own opportunity to be generous even when, especially when, you feel as you have nothing to give.

When someone gives you a bowl full of something–  under the cookies or Top Ramen soup or apples, is a pile of grace. 

You are now are in surplus. 

Give some back.

P.S.  Thank you. May my appreciation for you sit in your heart like a full bowl returned.

8 thoughts on “surplus

  1. I love this nurturing tradition and will add it to mine right away. One of my daughter’s friends made and brought us grape leaf rolls one night. I’ve washed up her container to give back to her. I think I’ll fill it with something baked and yummy before giving it back.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully said!
    It’s something that my mother always does — the cultural ethos of sharing and caring are like that; they transcend boundaries and limitations and are passed from person to person. Love how you are passing it on here as well. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s