Is there a basket big enough to hold all of ourselves?

Is there a basket big enough to hold all of ourselves? Wins, losses, employment, recreation, love, sorrow and joy, wellness and sickness? ~ Karin Fendick

sound iconSifting, Sorting, and Organizing

I love the look of baskets lined up on open shelves; some duplicates, others unique in shape or color. Each one issues invitations. Some say, “look and see what I hold within.” Others beckon, “fill me.”
I grew up hearing the phrase, “A place for everything and everything in it’s place.” This led to sorting and sifting and organizing in a way that compartmentalized life. Work was deposited in a basket. Family had a basket. Play and enjoyment was dropped into a small basket of its own. Jesus had a basket that we pulled out on Sundays, or at best a few minutes a day when we prayed; we certainly try to keep our spiritual life contained and isolated, but shouldn’t it infiltrate every space, every place?
And what of pain or illness? No matter how hard our attempts to close the lid of the basket we place it in, the contents spill over into every other basket in our lives.
Is there a basket big enough to hold all of ourselves? Wins, losses, employment, recreation, love, sorrow and joy, wellness and sickness? A God-created space that He fully inhabits?
A basket for our life. Whole, complete. Integration instead of compartmentalization. Yes!
Mary Oliver’s words spoke directly into my spirit:
Poetry isn’t a profession, it’s a way of life. It’s an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that.”
In her poem, Primogeniture, Julie Agoo writes of a multi-purpose basket:


someone put that basket under the dresser.
Chose to. Bent. Kicked it maybe.
Not the first time, it’s spent
years there, unthought of; only some time out
Of exile chasing a life
in the sun. The blond wood is well-stained
for all that. It has held sandwiches, beer, a knife,
sunscreen and clippers. Diapers. Once,
a specimen of toadstool that ate that hole
right through the end. But it was strong enough!
I remember it full of gloves and a Peterson’s Guide,
peonies roughly shoved through the upright handles.
And her hand pulling the weight, and the shadow it cast
on the terrace—like a sundial—
a penny from the war lay in the fretwork,
I remember that, working its way in or out—
And, lifting it from her, the light
Weight that made my hand feel light.
That’s just as clear today as when
she came in from the garden late
and put that burden down right here.
Perhaps the following questions can help, as you ponder baskets, letting words come to shape into poems.
  • What burdens have you set down or picked up in baskets?
  • How many baskets have you split yourself into?
  • Is there a special place for your pain or does it get hidden away?
  • Can you imagine an integrated life?
  • What would be the shape of your full-life basket? Can you describe it?
Let the words come and fall in place. Play with them. Feel the weight of them. When you are ready, share them with us.
Here is the poem my heart responded with:


I took my basket to the shore
collecting pebbles, sea glass
worn smooth and pale
I carried that basket to the forest
adding pine cones, leaves
curled and bright
Next I took it to the mountains
trying to capture sighs, wonder
awed by glory
Basket in hand I
journeyed home, unsure
was I too small, or
too large to fit and fill
this life, still weaving
twig by twig


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Enjoy the prompt.

We look forward to reading the poems that spill forth!



Basket • Poetry Prompt

by Karin Fendick | Read by Karin

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Karin Fendick

Karin Fendick

Chronic Joy® Poetry Coordinator & Writer

Karin is a handmaiden of the Lord, saved by grace, a worshiper, a poet, a broken heart, a lover of words, hungry for truth, amazed by love, on the Potter's wheel His work in progress. After five years in Africa, Karin and her beloved husband of twenty years, Rick, are back in rural Canada where chronic pain drives her to the feet of Jesus. She is powered by prayer, love, and many cups of strong coffee. She is the author of From Ashes to Glory (A Psalm a Day).

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