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.