Lower a Bucket: Ponderings from M*A*S*H*

I haven’t seen M*A*S*H* in eons but last night it was written for me!

In this episode, the members of MASH were celebrating “the Christmas they were supposed to be home by.” They were so very depressed.

In the midst of it, Father Mulcahey has messed up and slugged a soldier. He is depressed at his screw up.

Hawkeye tells him its OK, that everyone messes up.

Father Mulcahey says, “I’m not just supposed to say all that stuff, I’m supposed to do it.”

Hawkeye replies Father, get off your back!

Later on the Father is talking to himself and says I hang around on the edge of effectiveness…and wondered if he even made a difference.

He gets his answer when going to the mess tent. You see, the Father wanted to cheer up Major Burns and asked Radar to write home to Burns’ mom and get something that would remind him of home. Burns opens a box under the tree and it is his Toboggan hat — the one he wore as a child and every Christmas as they sleighed.

Burns runs up to the father and hands him all of the money out of his wallet and exclaims:

“You saved me father! You lowered a bucket into the well of my despair and you raised me up to the light of day!

In the closing moments, we hear the Father say,

“It doesn’t matter if you feel useful or not when you keep moving from one disaster to the next. The trick I guess is to just keep moving!”

This reminds me of one of my favorite verses:

“Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper we will reap the harvest.” Galatians 6:9

God can speak in many ways. I think he spoke through a silly episode of M*A*S*H to just right where I am right now. Ive been sick, down, upset, and feeling like I am “hanging around on the edge of effectiveness” and running around from disaster to disaster.

Today — I had three people and one dog lower a bucket into my well of despair:

  • My sister sent me flowers
  • My mom brought me my favorite lunch and talked to me
  • My other sister made our vacation plans
  • My “brother” Doc, the dog licked my cheek — happy to see me!

It is the little things. It is taking the time. It is in not growing weary and paying attention to others. You never know when you will lower a bucket into the well of someone’s despair and pull them up. You never know when the good you do will reap a harvest. Don’t grow weary! Keep doing good!

Think of who needs encouragement. Pray for them right now. Ask God how you can encourage them. Do something for someone having a hard time tomorrow!

Today I heard from a missionary in West Africa, she is concerned for her husband who is four and a half hours away in a village doing discipleship. My problems pale in comparison. I can pray and have been.

Lord, we ask that you bless our missionaries and that you particularly bless this missionary and his wife who cannot be named. Be with them and encourage them. Help him disciple the believers and let the Holy Spirit move in powerful ways. Be with them. Bless them. Guide as as we seek your will for a website for the Tuareg. Bless the Tuareg people and we pray that you will be expeditious in your time to reach them with your word. Call people. Lord, help them and us not grow weary of doing good. Let us be found faithful. Forgive us and help us do your will. We love you, Lord. Pull us up from the well of despair. In Jesus name. Amen.

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