“Teaspoons, Not Buckets.”

I read the NYT interview with Eddie Redmayne and Emma Stone, and I loved Stone’s memory of her first acting coach in LA telling her “teaspoons, not buckets.” Redmayne agrees and says, “People can see closer than you think.”

Teaspoons, not buckets! It doesn’t have to be so big all the time.

You know me: I’m theatrical and over-the-top with just about everything. It’s all swooping hand gestures, loud talking, and dramatic expressions. But last night, I thought more carefully about the wisdom literature of Proverbs that suggests the power and wisdom of restraint. Subtlety contains its own beauty and rewards the audience more. They already know by the small evidence; they don’t need big and theatrical all the time.

I turn to my one daughter who inherited most of the Italian exuberance. “Teaspoons, not buckets. You don’t need to give all of yourself away with every conversation. Subtlety, dear child.”

My other daughter says, “Mom, you are all buckets all the time!”

“Really,” I say calmly. “This is me holding back. This is teaspoons.”

I suppose my teaspoons are buckets, comparatively, but the point still stands: the quiet, simple, subtle thing often reveals the most beauty and invites others in. And in life, too, the teaspoon here showcases as much wonder and joy as the glamorous buckets.

I think about teaspoons today when I want to burst out with all my opinions and drama. Teaspoons. I think about teaspoons when I want the buckets of prosperity or attention or adventure. Teaspoons. I can see closer than you think. There’s beauty and meaning here in the teaspoon. Teaspoons. 

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  1. And if that teaspoon also holds the love of God, and faith that He will accomplish what my drama buckets can't . . . I wonder how much better my “battles” would go? Thanks for reminder.