When my oldest (teenage) son pours himself a glass of juice he chooses the largest glass he can find and fills it to the brim… not just below the rim but by some miracle of physics the juice rides the lip of the glass and makes a dome shape that rises just above the top of glass. If he added even one more drop it would flow over the sides; he can’t pick it up or move it, he has to lean down and slurp a few mouthfuls first.
I love being whelmed… that sense of fullness of being, of being filled to the tip top. I love being engaged in work, conversations and projects that draw on my passion and creativity. I love hearing stories and reflecting, recording and carrying them with me. The thing is, whelmed is not far off from being overwhelmed. There are days I go here and there gathering stories, ideas and emotions (some that are mine and some that are borrowed) and I get to the end of the day and my head and heart brims over.
When my youngest son was watching today’s drawing evolve he asked why I was making a picture of someone drowning. I might have gotten slightly defensive when I answered, “I’m not, her head is above the water!”
I’m not drowning, but today I am nearing the tipping point. I had a great conversation to made plans with some cool storytellers for a collaborative art project and I had a lively discussion with a pastor friend about growing our Church into being a thriving, vital and ever-developing community. Then I came home, and had a lengthy and heart-wrenching talk, in which, I gave too much advice and lots of hugs, about how to ‘fit in’ in the seventh grade. This conversation ended with my almost 13 year-old middle son wisely declaring, “growing up sucks!” (he was definitely overwhelmed).
All of this filled up my day and filled my brain and my heart to capacity. So now I will draw it, I will tell these stories back to myself in an image that preserves them and lets them go. And in doing so, I open up some fresh space for tomorrow to fill.