A hand in a bucket

Over the past two years, this has by far been my most popular post.
If you have time after reading, won’t you please post a comment stating how/why you stopped by, and if the post met your expectations? Perhaps you only wanted the poem – wonderful! I’m glad I could help you find it. Thank you for reading, and have a lovely day. –April


A long time ago I heard this analogy about sticking your hand in a bucket of water – you may think what you’re doing is important and that perhaps no one can do what you’re doing, but if you take your hand out, either someone else will stick theirs in or water fills the space almost immediately, and it’s like you were never there… or something like that.  Anyway, looking for the analogy, I found the poem – not analogy – that this came from.  I think.  Not sure if poem came first or not, but it could be.

There Is No Indispensable Man
by Saxon N. White Kessinger, Copyright 1959

Sometime when you’re feeling important;
Sometime when your ego’s in bloom
Sometime when you take it for granted
You’re the best qualified in the room,

Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul;

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
Is a measure of how you will be missed.

You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop and you’ll find that in no time
It looks quite the same as before.

The moral of this quaint example
Is do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There’s no indispensable man.

Anyhow, I am reminded (and how we hate to be reminded!) that my hand’s in a bucket.  I have decided that it’s time for me to move on to new pastures in a couple areas of my life, and as much as I think I am going to miss the old pasture, in a week or two, I probably won’t.  Nor will my mates miss me – maybe for a week or two, but after that, there’ll be new mates.  And you know what?  That makes me sad.  The eight-year-old part of me wants all the good to just stay the same (why can’t it just stay the same? I LIKE it here! she wails) while my grown-up-self knows that it is time to move on, and in the end, moving on is a good thing.


Another draft I’m pulling out of the files – this one was written back in April, and the changes made have been a good thing.  And it’s true – I don’t miss the old pasture (at least…not too much, nor too often).  The new pastures have kept me happily busy.  

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4 thoughts on “A hand in a bucket

  1. My tenth grade teacher had the class memorize this poem and recite it individually to the rest of the class. We all laughed then at having to do this, but the poem stuck with me. I was happy to read all the words again. It brought back memories of my recitation in class. We all thought it was an odd assignment.

  2. I am reminded of an eight year old girl I once knew who was very upset to be leaving the hot Californian desert for the unknown of a foriegn land. She was then sad to leave that land four years later. Where is she now, and would she truly have been happy in the desert?

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