If you’ve read my blog for the last couple months, then you know I consider reading and writing a holistic exercise for the mind. The brain has always seemed like a fish’s gill to me. The only way to keep it functioning is to keep sucking in water, take out oxygen, use what you can, and expel the rest. A brain needs to take in all that it can through reading, analyze consciously and subconsciously, file what you can, and write the rest out of your system. If its completely useless, journal it and throw it away. I actually have a useless thoughts jar because when something is nagging on my mind the quickest way to be free of it is to write it out and put it in a jar.
I do this for people too, which is why I waited this long to write about my collective Christmas gift. Every year I do something that is generally the same, but completely personal. This can get really difficult because I am horrible at knitting and sewing and craftiness in general. Honestly, if you saw my Pinterest boards, it is primarily inspirational writing quotes, Lord of the Rings/ Star Trek/ Star Wars memes, and chocolate. It is bad enough that I unfollow everyone with crafty boards because looking at them makes me feel incompetent like I some how missed silk scarf shelves in mom’s home ec class or should try art mediums other than oil painting like toilet paper rolls and … scrap booking.
I need to keep things relatively clean and simple. When I paint, I have spent weeks, sometimes months, seeing what is there. I am sure of it. When I make something for someone else, I have to be more sure that the out come will be just as excellent as the person who is receiving it. One year I recorded a cd of piano most of it improved for the people who would be receiving it. It fit them and my little sisters thought Taylor Swift and Tao Cruz songs put together were the “bomb” or “boss”. I am not quite sure about that.
This year, more broke than ever (kudos to college), I decided to go to the source of what makes me give them something every year. It was more personal, more vulnerable, and a little terrifying. I put everything that I loved about a friend or family member on a slip of paper and put it in a jar. It could have been a memory, something they said, a prayer, a thought or inside joke, or things they’ve taught me. I filled eleven jars with folded slips of paper and mailed or hand delivered them to their recipients.
As expected, at first a look of confusion passed over their face, but when they understood it they each reacted in the particular way that I knew they would.
My sisters looked incredulous – You could have bought me food or an iTunes card, but food is always good.
My mom said, “I can’t wait to read these a little at a time.”
My dad read the card quietly and did his, “and it was good” nod with a little smile that made his ears go up a little.
My friends gave me big hugs, cried, and one sat down where she was dumping out the entire jar to read them all.
There are two I haven’t given yet, both because I haven’t finished.
One is for the woman I am maid of honoring for and the other I just need to mail.
Its a part of myself I put in a jar and on display for them to know what they mean to me.
The best part is that I got home from Texas a couple weeks ago and I noticed that mom’s jar had a paper clip in it. Every time she missed me or needed an encouraging word, she read a little note. Dad’s jar is kept on the shelf with his b-bs and shoe polish right on eye level, so I know he sees it every morning. They may not have read it all or any of it, but the best part is that I know they have it because at the very bottom every jar there is a slip of paper that says something like, “You bring out the best in me.” And that person is the woman who loves God, honors and follows Him, and as a result is able to serve the people he has made so key in my life.