There is an old jar of clay that, for various reason throughout the years, has come to be mostly filled with toxins. It wasn’t always so – the jar was originally meant to contain good and wholesome things. But bitter things got mixed in, and they gradually grew and mingled with and eventually overwhelmed the wholesome things.
For awhile, the jar was able to contain the poisonous soup swirling around inside it. It kept its lid on. It refrained from shaking itself, making sure it never spilled or sloshed its contents. On the outside it was able to appear as a nice, sturdy, well-made jar of clay. But eventually the jar became full enough that the poison inside began to push harder and harder against the lid of the jar. So the jar allowed its lid to come off, hoping to release the pressure and hoping that perhaps someone would know how to safely scoop out the poisons or render them harmless. But things went wrong. The jar didn’t know how to handle its poison safely, so it mostly let it spill and slosh out. The poison kept sloshing around over the top of the jar, getting on things, harming them. Spreading its toxicity around. Others had lots of ideas about how the jar could empty itself of poison, but they didn’t seem to work. So eventually the jar tried the only thing it knew to try – it shoved its lid back on as tightly as possible and it tried to keep still and quiet and contained.
But eventually the poison started causing cracks in the jar, and the poison would slip out of the cracks and spill all over things yet again. So the jar tried to repair itself by patching the cracks as they appeared. Sometimes it would work for awhile but the pressure kept thwarting all the jar’s efforts to contain itself. And soon enough, the jar was no longer able to appear nice and sturdy on the outside because that takes effort, and every bit of energy the jar had was being used to hold itself together and try not to spill its poisons on others.
Soon enough, others began to look at the jar and comment on its state of being. Some would say, “there’s a brittle, cracked, and unstable jar, and it looks like it’s full of poison. We should stay away from it.” Others said, “yeah, i used to think it was a pretty nice jar, but now it’s all cracked and leaky and I’m not hanging around to watch it finally shatter.” A couple of others remarked, “if only the jar would let God fix it, everything would be hunky-dory.” And some people even said, “that jar’s not really nearly as cracked and leaky as it wants us to think it is. It just needs to buck up and hold itself together like it used to. But it wants attention, so it’s going around trying to get us all to feel sorry for it.”
And yet here is the jar. And the jar has been around long enough, and tried enough repairs, and listened to enough advice – to know that the poison, and the pressure, and the cracks, and the brittleness, and the fear of shattering and spilling its toxins all over everything is real enough. Or at least it feels real enough to the jar.
The jar doesn’t want to shatter. The jar doesn’t want to be filled with poison, and it sure as hell doesn’t want to spill its poisons all over others. But the jar doesn’t know how to heal, it only knows how to patch.
I’m getting low on patches.