Mason jars have been a part of my life since I was a little girl.
I remember the women in my family using them to “can” food they wanted to store throughout the winter. Seeing them being pulled from the pantry shelf meant having something delicious to spread on my grandmother’s warm biscuits like strawberry jam or apple butter. My grandmother's shelves were always stocked with mason jars, so I saw them every day. My uncle even worked at the “Ball” plant for over 40 years in Tennessee, and I remember seeing the logo on his uniform growing up.
Over the years, the use for the mason jar changed. Suddenly, they were not being used to only store food, but instead were used for decoration at weddings. I have used them to create cakes in a jar and I've even placed votives inside them to use during parties and other celebrations.
But two years ago, my use of Mason jars changed yet again. Except this time, it was not for a festive occasion like storing treats or decorations. Instead, it was to fill and bring homemade juice to a friend who was dealing with another cancer diagnoses. A few months later, she passed away.
For many months after she died, I drove around with the mason jars still in my trunk. Some of them had been washed, but others still had the remnants of the green juice caked on the inside. Every time I planned to bring them into my house to wash them, my eyes filled with tears. Just seeing them made me feel so sad, because I remembered what they were used for. I finally ended up putting them in my recycling bin last summer.
I still had a few leftover jars at my house, which I found myself avoiding by tucking them away in a cabinet. Anytime I needed to use a jar, I figured out something else to use instead. I just didn’t want to feel sad anymore.
Fast forward to April 2018, when one of my dear girlfriends offered to make me and my husband one of my favorite dishes she had cooked for me before: stewed bacalao, yucca and cilantro and lime rice. As I unpacked our food and smelled the wonderful aroma, I discovered a mason jar. As soon as I saw the top of the jar, my stomach dropped. Until I picked up the jar and noticed (in Tori's very beautiful handwriting) “Tori’s House Dressing”. As I shook it up and poured it over our salad, the feelings of sadness I used to have whenever I would see a mason jar disappeared.
Tori had no idea what the mason jar symbolized to me up until that day. But her one gesture of kindness: making me and my husband a meal, forever changed how I viewed mason jars. Where they once conjured up feelings of sadness, now I only see them through the lense of joy.
Is there something in your life that brings up bad memories when you see it? If so, how can you reframe the way you view it in a NEW way?
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19
Mama. Wife. Poet. Teacher. Maniac.