When I started this blog, I knew I would need a resource to go to when ideas were thin. I thought the name Stuck Bucket had a kind of a rhymey-whymey serendipity, so “Stuck Bucket”…stuck, and the search was on. I wanted a literal place where I could go and randomly draw a new idea for inspiration. We kicked around junk and thrift shops looking for the perfect vessel, but I never had that vibe that says, “Pick me. I’m your Stuck Bucket. You and I will make beautiful stories together.”
One day I remembered the cookie jar. It must have been whispering to me from the kitchen pantry for many moons. I knew there was a reason we kept it. There’s always a reason for everything.
When one of my husband’s elderly relatives died, I went to the house to help clean. While the home had always appeared to be neat, a deeper examination revealed the disarray of their final years. A kitchen cabinet held 100 twist ties from bread wrappers, bath towels, and ten year old canned food. Food from the previous Thanksgiving, still sealed in the baggie they’d taken from a relative’s house, characterized the contents of the refrigerator, which took me an entire day to clean. Even after I cleaned the frig, a terrible stench emanated from the room. Under the sink, I found the Cookie Jar. When I lifted the lid, the stench doubled. My eyes burned, and I gagged several times. The black sludge in the bottom of the jar was unidentifiable. Holding it gingerly with my one forefinger and my thumb, I carried it outside. When SH called to ask about how the cleaning progressed, I told him about the jar. “I’m just going to throw it away,” I said. After spending the day discarding rotten food, little bits of paper, and dry dog food strewn from one end of the house to another, I couldn’t face scrubbing another uncleanable object. I was stuck.
Super Husband is super for a reason. He said, “Don’t give up just yet. I’ll look at it when I get home from work.” As I watched him standing in the yard, bent over the cookie jar with a scrub brush and a respirator mask, I thought, “I’ll never put a cookie in it.” We tried to sell it, but no one wanted it. It’s just been sitting at the back of the shelf in my kitchen pantry for the last seven years, waiting.
This year I have gone from having a full time job to having a part time job. The routine is new. There are days when I get a lot done, and days when I flounder around the house, not accomplishing anything of note. Sometimes I feel as though it’s a mistake to slow down, to note and notice and write about my life. Though I feel compelled to blog, I don’t know what the outcome will be. What’s the end game of all of these words I’m shoving into the universe? Who wants to hear this drivel?
But the Stuck Bucket is there. It’s got lessons to teach me.
A part of you has been in a jar on the back of a shelf, waiting, for a long time.
We don’t always know what things are for when we first find them, but they do have a purpose.
A mess can always be cleaned up. Just keep scrubbing.
Don’t give up just yet.
I hope, dear reader, that at this moment, you are not stuck. I hope your bowels, your conscience, and your brain functions are as clear as a four lane highway at midnight. If, like me, you get stuck sometimes, well, there’s a bucket for that. May it overflow.