Take the lid off the jar in 2018


I told my Sweet Al 2018 is here and it’s time to take the lid off the jar.
He looked at me funny and said, “I can’t get the lid off any more. I don’t have the strength I used to have.”
It’s a metaphorical expression. It’s all about living big. I might have to take the lid off the jar for him.
“Whatever you say.” He continued to pet his dog and talked baby talk to her.
“Oh brother, I’ve got a big job on my hands this year.”
At the beginning of a new year, I always look back and gather up my thoughts as to “what happened?” Then I look forward to “what might be.”
So, what really happened in 2017? Beats me. It started with the ball drop in New York City’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve. They announced no porta potties. People arrived early that morning. Definitely a change would be required on New Year’s Day 2018. So I surmised it would be a year of change and a year of laughter. Both happened.
If I had to describe 2017, I would use two words, “interesting” and “forgettable.” Interesting is an interesting word. It says nothing. It’s a word people say if they are baffled and don’t know what else to say. Forgettable? No one remembers.
2017 was an interesting year for sure. Omarosa, one of the highest paid staff members at the White House, was fired. What do I say? I forgot why she was there and what she was there for. That’s how I would describe the year 2017. Nothing seemed to make sense, forgettable, but interesting.
Changes happened at every turn. Old friends moved away and new friends moved in. Many friends didn’t even get a hello from us this year. Our children made some changes with their jobs and I signed a book contract with a publishing company. The first of four books in the series was published. I have three books to go.
Some things remained intact. We are entering our fourth year in our writers’ group. This year has produced some really good writers. We are trudging into our fifth year and into deeper mud in our Greek class. We can actually pronounce a word or two in Greek.
2018 will mark my 10th anniversary writing articles for the “Artist’s Lane” column. This weekly submission will be No. 431 for The SUN. My writing career has grown up in front of you. I still wonder why you read my column. But I’m blessed beyond measure that you do. I am thankful for loyal readers.
I have always said that nothing happens on the Lower Blanco, and the opportunity to write every week with something to say is bigger than I am. How does it work? It’s a miracle.
Jonathan Cahn explains it best in an excerpt from “The Book of Mysteries.” He writes about the open vessel. He calls it infinity in a jar: “Can that which is little contain that which is big? Only, if it is in an open container. A closed vessel can never contain anything larger than its own size. But an open vessel has no limitations.”
“How can you contain that which is bigger than you … that which is bigger than your ability to comprehend?” By becoming an open vessel. The truth is always greater than our knowing. Your mind and heart are finite and the truth has no end. The eternal is infinite and always flowing.
I discovered Cahn in 2017. Now, he is notable. He wrote “The Book of Mysteries,” which is at the top of my reading list. He seems to be the next voice as to where the church is going today, which speaks much about joining Israel and Christians together.
If we want to experience 2018 bigger than we are and what we are capable of doing, we need to take the lid off the jar and open ourselves up to God. He wants to pour into us. We need to be willing to receive whatever comes our way. If not, we will sit in closed vessels and we will die in our smallness.
So, this time of the year, leaving 2017 and entering into 2018, a quote from a new friend might sum it up: “We may be nothing more than a line or two in the great novel of another person’s life.”
You might have a profound effect on another person’s story. So many of you have written line upon line on my heart. I quote you by the principles you share with me and I quote you more than you probably want to be quoted. I need you. After all, nothing interesting happens on the Blanco and I’ve already forgotten about 2017.
Final brushstroke: To live large in 2018, we must take the lid off the jar — keep our mind and heart open so that we can contain God’s bigness. Happy New Year’s from my Sweet Al and I.