Jar Head

This week on Facebook, I saw a philosophical re-post that I’d only seen a hundred times before.

Big Surprise, I know!

Anyway, I had seen the story before, of the professor and the jar, and how he shows his class, that we can fit a lot more into our jar of life, when we put in the big stones first, then smaller, then the sand…

It’s about our true Big priorities taking precedence and leaving the ‘small stuff’ till the end.

Usually, the punchline is that he pours a beer into the jar at the end, proving that there is always room for beer in life – YAY!

Well, I really related this week, for good reason. My thoughts about my ‘jar’ were dragging me down.

And no, I didn’t pour a beer into my life, making everything better…

I did do something a couple years ago though, that has really changed the makeup of my ‘jar’ of rocks…

I dumped it out.

It made a mess.

Having your jar empty is scary. Knowing that you purposely grabbed it and shook it upside down, choosing this, brings on lots of self doubt. It wasn’t a hurricane, or a terrorist, or something outside of my control that caused this. It was me.

With an empty jar though, I also get to choose what to put back in it. I get to rebuild it. I can create as I go. Some of my new choices have been fun and good and some are painful. Totally reinventing how your jar is configured, requires more strength than I ever thought it would. I do get exhausted. At times, I am forlorn and seeing rosy memories in hindsight.

Back before the dump.

And yet, I can check in with my gut. I ask that 29 year old me, what he really wanted to do with his life. What hadn’t he yet done, that he was yearning for, and scared of, and pawing at the air for, that he would be too embarrassed or too insecurely cocky to admit.

We wanted this dump. We wanted drastic. It seemed only way to completely rebuild.

But DANG it’s HARD!

And yet, it all is perfect.

Truthfully, even before the dump, it was all perfect too… Yup, every moment has been.

That’s the irony. In my reaching and grasping, I’m right where I belong. In my pain. I’m right where I belong. In a moment in a coaching call last night, up against a wall, feeling the same ol’ same ol’ ‘Whatt’re YaGoin’ Tadoo’ question, I broke, perfectly. The answer was ‘breathe’, the answer was ‘appreciate now’, the answer was that, there is no next week to shoot for, or action plan to create, or steps to follow. All those thoughts leave me in lack. They show me I’m not there. They illustrate a gap, decorated in shades of pain…

Again, ‘Whatt’re YaGoin’ Tadoo’

Ha! The answer-pop came with a laugh. “I’ll just get into the perfectness of now. I’ll just employ the radical truth, that this breath is absolute and complete. And, if I forget and slide back out, into the rainy mucky mud, then that will be perfect too. As I forgive myself, allow grace, and clear all self-judgement, I’m back to good.”

Good is a much better place to operate from. God is the place to operate from. Close to Him, seeing and feeling no gap. Living in gratitude of his creation, which is all…

The jar is His, the rocks and pebbles and sand are His. Nothing is not.

Dumping it all out and starting over, may be his plan, may be mine, doesn’t matter. It’s all perfect, perfectly broken, not flawless or pristine. There is a breath right now, moving through… It is His, and it is all there truly is… The rest is dust.

Would it be true? That to beat fear, to live in faith, to truly love and serve, would be to keep ourselves empty? To be a vessel for His will? To constantly let go. Knowing only Him?

I’ll slow down on my ‘jar filling’ and trying so hard to create it exactly right…

I got a Jar. Lord, thank you for that, now, how would YOU use me??


Aaron Nichols

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *