H. Neal Glanville: Life lessons of the bucket | CraigDailyPress.com

H. Neal Glanville: Life lessons of the bucket

H. Neal Glanville

As a teen, my beloved Aunt Ruthie took me under her wing with the hope she could save me from myself and the rest of the world.

I wasn’t a bad kid by any stretch of the imagination, I just saw things differently than most kids and was constant about my search for answers to things I may or may not have had a reason for.

Various adults thought this a tragic miscarriage of parenting and my two brothers thought it a crime against boyhood that I could ski all winter and appear to be goofing off all summer.

Granted, I was a member of various ski teams and did spend considerable time fishing and goofing off, but I was also being homeschooled by Ruthie and her various friends from Westminster College and the University of Utah.

You could think of it as the Mormon version of Auntie Mame, less the dry Martinis.

My brain became a vacuum, questioning everything, which often brought “I told you so” when I questioned adults aloud.

That still happens quite often, I’m happy to say, though now I’m thought eccentric and too old to know what I’m talking about.

Of all the things I learned from Ruthie and her bundle of friends, the most important came from my grandmother, who’d stopped by with Grandpa for a visit after church.

Our discussion had been about life in general and the responsibilities of mankind for its direction.

Grandma asked if she could say something, and the room fell quiet.

“When we’re born to this world” she said, “we’re each given a bucket for our troubles or things we don’t wish to deal with. As we grow older and think ourselves smarter than the bucket, we pile more into it, never worrying how full or heavy it’s getting. We just drag it along with us, promising to take care of it tomorrow. Somewhere along the way, you meet somebody you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, and they too have a bucket that must be carried and you somehow decide you can fill your bucket with their stuff and away you go.

“But as time passes, you both realize your bucket is overflowing with the crud of adulthood and you begin to wonder if you shouldn’t pass the bucket back to its owner and just give up.

“Of course, when you quit, you must sort back through the bucket and figure, since you’ve both added to it over the years, whose crud is whose. It’s then you realize that your bucket is yours alone and you must deal with it as your free will dictates. If you wish to help someone with their bucket, help them by not carrying their load, but by making it lighter. In doing so, mankind will seek its direction and accept its own responsibilities.”

We’ve all seen this in simple acts of kindness, or admitting out loud that a fair portion of our lives are a credit to the kindness of others.

In denying kindness you’re throwing another pile of crud into your bucket.

Hey, you be careful out there and stay to the light.

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