You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You have anointed my head with oil.
My cup overflows.
My Cup Runneth Over
As a writer, I appreciate the power of such a figurative description in this verse. I read a book called Girl Meets God by Judeo-Christian author Lauren Winner in which she wrote:
God is a novelist. He uses all sorts of literary devices: alliteration, assonance, rhyme, synecdoche, onomatopoeia. But of all these, His favorite is fore-shadowing.
I would add the use of imagery. Reading this verse, we imagine a cup overflowing with wine, water or what-have-you, and we share in the mood of the narrator. David is grateful.
He was running from an unnamed enemy, facing dire circumstances, but that’s not his focus in Pslam 23:5.
Instead, he gives thanks to God: A shepherd in Gilead gave him shelter, wool for making clothes, food and drink- more than enough to survive.
This verse has inspired my prayer with Caleb every night: Thank you Lord for not only giving us what we need (food, medicine and shelter), but also for our friends, family and even the luxuries that we enjoy…
The phrase was also used in one of my favorite movies that came out when I was a teenager: Hope Floats.
It was a different situation in the movie. Instead of dying, the father decided to leave his wife and daughter. When he drove away, the daughter was literally trying to cling to him, and she was left screaming and crying in the street.
Her sense of abandonment tears through my heart, and I can identify with the mother who calmly lifts her daughter from the ground and carries her inside. There is no hope in her eyes, only resignation.
One day the little girl told her grandmother, “I love you.” The grandmother hesitates, probably because she is not used to expressing sentiment. She answers, “Oh, honey. My cup runneth over.”
I also found myself resistant like the grandmother, to say, I love you. Why? Maybe because a lot of pain can come with those words.
To the Present
I’ve been sharing journal entries from 2006, the year when Jason died. Naturally, everything I wrote at that time is full of raw emotion: sadness, loss and death. I wish I had written more about new motherhood, more about the first year of my son’s life.
Psalm 23:5 is really on my heart because I remember suffering. David was running, but I was beating on the door of my past, clinging to the way I expected my life should be and rejecting everything in the present:
December 22, 2006 | I cannot stop thinking about Jason every minute. Every movie, everything is a reminder. Christmas is not good without him. I have no motivation to decorate or celebrate. I don’t even know what Christmas will consist of now. There should be pictures of Caleb’s first Christmas, but I don’t have the heart for it. Not without Jason. I sound like I’m just full of misery, but I don’t know where to go from here.
Now it’s almost nine years later, and tomorrow is Thanksgiving. So much has changed. My family is heading for Beaufort to celebrate with my best friend. I was at her house for the majority of the holidays over the years.
My Son’s First Year
When I was struggling with the will to live, Caleb was always my reason to stay. Not a day goes by without a hug and a whisper of thanks for my son. I am so grateful. My cup runneth over.
Caleb, don’t cry for your lost daddy-
I’ve cried enough for both of us
Jason, don’t worry about the bills-
I can earn enough for both of us
Caleb, don’t think of me as your only parent-
My devotion is enough for both of us
Lord, don’t ever let go of our hands-
Your love is enough for all of us.