Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good books
11/30/12 at 12:44 AM 2 Comments

The Bucket

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“The Friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That Joy is mine, and it is now complete.” John 3:29

Growing up, I had acres of farmland to explore. While my body never left the top of grandpa’s hundred-year-old oak tree, my mind traveled the world, time, and space. While my only friends might have been several dozen dejected cows and impetuous chickens, I knew many charming and courageous characters, all of which I longed to be. Anyone but me.

I was overweight, boring, and suffered a great deal of low self-esteem. While I had a loving family, the sexual molestation I fell prey to at a very young age left its ugly scars. Though I rarely came into contact with my predator and was old enough to protect myself, the damage had been done. Trust wasn’t so easy anymore. Fear chased me into reclusion. I escaped the pain and fear by reading. I healed by writing. I wished out-loud one day that I could leave farm life behind and find something better. Granny told me, “Be careful what you wish for.”

She was right.

Not long after, a tornado ripped our farm away. Six months later my father died. I was twelve. Happiness disappeared from the small green patch of Mississippi countryside we called home… for good. My pastor told me God wasn’t to blame.

I didn’t believe him.

Pieces that made me whole, faded away.

Before the storm, music from grandpa’s harmonica would set the tone and we’d all sing as we fed the cattle and farmed that hard red clay. One of our favorites, “There’s a Hole in My Bucket,” made us laugh till we cried.

“There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,

 There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

Then fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,

Then fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, Fix It! “

Henry’s excuses of not being able to fix the bucket exasperated dear Liza. Henry tried the straw Liza suggested, but couldn’t cut it because the axe was to dull, couldn’t sharpen the axe because the stone was to dry, and couldn’t wet the stone because, of course, there was a hole in his bucket.

“In what shall I fetch it, dear Liza, dear Liza, in what?

In a bucket, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,

In a bucket, dear Henry, dear Henry, THE Bucket!

Ummm, there’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,

There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, A Hole!”

The circle repeated itself, as did I with my own circumstances. The hole(ly) bucket became me; incomplete, useless, deficient, and drowning in self-pity. Hate was what I felt mostly, only I didn’t understand what I hated or why I was so angry.

That simple silly song held such significant implications. Like Henry, I became full of excuses. When that didn’t work, I tried Liza’s version of fixing things my way. Both failed. Once grandpa said, “You’d think they’d just get a new bucket.”

He was a genius.

One night grandpa’s statement pricked my heart. Try as I had, I couldn’t fix the brokenness around me, nor my heart. I couldn’t make excuses anymore. They left me emptier than before.

I needed a new bucket.

God didn’t give me the bucket I asked for. But he handed me the bucket I needed to make it through. Although it came with two nail-scared holes, it has never lost what it carries. Life isn’t always easy, but God can take your greatest despair and turn it into your greatest joy. I write to heal. I write to share hope. I write for you.

I pour from my bucket, into yours.


For a humorous look at lyrics for “There’s a Hole in My Bucket,” visit

Cindy M.Jones' articles have appeared in publications such as: Thriving Family by Focus on the Family, Journey Devotional for Women by Lifeway, Birmingham Magazine, Birmingham Parent, Birmingham Business Journal, The Old School House, and, most recently her real-life love story in OakTara Publisher’s anthology, My Love to You Always. She is a facilitator and co-founder of Cahaba Christian Writer’s in Trussville, Alabama. and

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