Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Break In The Cup

Years ago I attended a high school reunion, and a classmate ran up and hugged me. I’ll never forget, he said “Hollye Holmes! I remember you. You were always finding birds with broken wings and trying to save them!”
Wow. I did not miss the truth in his simple statement. I know he was speaking literally about memories he had of me, but boy oh boy did he have my number on so many levels.  I had a habit back in those days of taking broken people under my own wing, and trying to “love” them into wholeness. But it’s impossible to do when that person has got a “broken cup”.

That’s a term coined by one of my favorite singer/songwriters, David Wilcox. I love him not only for his James Taylor-like soothing vocals but because the man is like a sage. His songs are so deep and profound he could start a religion around them, or at least a self-help movement.  This song he wrote, called “Break in the cup” taught me so much about the people I was trying to fix in my life, and about myself as well.

I can’t say it any better than Wilcox so I’ll just share his lyrics with you.

I try so hard to please you
To be the love that fills you up
I try to pour on sweet affection
But I think you got a broken cup.
Because you can't believe I love you
I try to tell you that there is no doubt
But as soon as I  fill you with all I've got
That little break will let it run right out

I cannot make you happy
I'm learning love and money never do
But I can pour myself out 'til I'm empty
Trying to be just who you'd want me to
I cannot make you happy
Even though our love is true
For there's a break in the cup that holds love
Inside of you

Now I begin to understand you
As you explain the fear you feel
It's when you see me fall into that sorrow
That makes you doubt the love is real
Because lonely wind still blows through me
I turn away so you can't see
But now how can I still be so empty
With all this love that you pour on me?

I guess you cannot make me happy
And that's a money-back guarantee
But you can pour yourself out 'til you're empty
Trying to be just who'd I want you to be
You cannot make me happy
It's just the law of gravity
And that break in the cup that holds love
Inside of me

So if you're tempted to rescue me
Drowning in this quicksand up to my neck
Before you grab my hand to save me
Why don't you ask me if I'm finished yet?
You cannot make me happy
Not when there's empty inside of me
But you can pull yourself right in here with me
My misery'd love to have your company

We cannot trade empty for empty
We must go to the waterfall
For there's a break in the cup that holds love
A break in the cup that holds love
A break in the cup that holds love
Inside us all

That’s the clencher…that last chorus. The “break” in the cup is the ego, which can never be satisfied.  But the “waterfall” – that is our source of life, the love that created us.  Only there can we find wholeness.

So, what I learned from David Wilcox is this: I can love my friends and family, but I alone can never fill their cups. When we are living in grace and love, and finding our strength from that source, our cup is full. It is only when we each fix the break in our own cups that we can find true happiness. 

Here is another great song ( and sweet story) from Wilcox- about how love blooms when we approach it with honesty. I just love this guy....take the time to watch this short video. It'll make you smile and believe in love.


  1. Love this Hollye~ty for sharing for yes we can always be there for others but we cannot fix them. The old story a person has to hit bottom to realize they want the waterfall to refresh, restart, renew. Family~friends~love~trust~truth~appreciate and enJOY it~

  2. I really enjoy reading your blogs, Hollye. Thanks for your insight, perspective and honesty. Keep 'em coming!

    Sue Epstein

  3. What joy when we can support others without feeling responsible...

  4. Wonderful words Hollye. I do the exact same thing and have learned it is impossible to fill another's cup but oh do I sure try. :)

  5. I'm with Madgew again, wonderful.


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