The Jar

When I was a young boy, I could spend hours looking at the sky, wrapt in awe, wonder suffusing me from head to toe; I never wanted to look away, especially on those clear cloudless nights when the heavens were so brilliant the stardust seemed to fall down and tickle my nose.

One night, I took one of my mother’s large pickling jars out to my viewing nook on the roof, opened it up, and scooped my little corner of the universe inside, quickly closing the lid so none could escape. I hid my jar of stars and celestial bodies under my bed, and every night after my parents tucked me in, I took it out and gazed into my bottled infinity.

A week later, my mother found the jar while cleaning my room, and said: “Honey, did you take this from the sky?”

“Yes, momma,” I said, feeling slightly ashamed. “It’s so beautiful, I wanted it all for myself.”

Mother knelt in front of me, put a soft hand on my shoulder, and looked me in the eyes; she smelled of lavender and sugar-coated compassion. “Some things are too magical to be contained, to be hidden away for one’s self. If they aren’t shared with everyone, they begin to lose their power, that shimmer and glow that makes them so special. Does that make sense, my love?”

“Yes, momma,” I replied.

That night I went to my viewing corner with my jar and removed the lid. I’m sorry, I thought, as the sky swirled and fluttered and pulsed back to its proper place.

Later, I realized the universe is far too big to bottle up, and my job is to make my life like that jar that once contained the stars and to fill it with beauty and magic; to create a life full of things too magnificent to keep bottled up.

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