T is for Treasure


New weekly musings inspired by the alphabet... 

In 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in eleven caves on the north shore of the Dead Sea. They are a collection of manuscripts written on leather and papyrus that had been sitting in clay jars, waiting almost 2,000 years to be discovered. 

Over 900 manuscripts are represented in the fragments discovered.

In February 2017, a 12th cave was discovered with an intact scroll in a jar. 
The scroll was blank.

So: treasures in clay jars. 
Also: a blank scroll in a clay jar.

Here’s what you need to know about clay jars: 
They are delicate. 
They crack easily even though they look durable. 
They are refined by fire to be hard enough to hold liquid, 
yet they shatter easily into many pieces. 
And once a clay jar is broken, it cannot be repaired. 
No wonder clay jars are a preferred metaphor for human beings. 
We look strong but we are weak. 
We are busy, but we get tired. 
We are young at heart but our bodies age and become frail. 
We are like clay jars. 
We break easily. 
We need to be handled with care. 

We also know the greatest treasures are found in the most unlikely places – 
and in the most unlikely people. 
You cannot judge the treasure in a clay pot by its outward appearance. 

We are ALL treasures in clay jars. 
Not matter what we look like, or sound like. 
We are all formed from the same earth, the same cells, the same energy. 
We all contain the divine spark of creation. 

We are all born a blank scroll in a clay jar – 
waiting for our parents and our families, our friends and our partners, our children and our grandchildren, our nieces and our nephews, to write our stories, 
to tell us what we need to know in order to get through life, 
in order to survive in this world we created. 

What will be written on the blank scroll inside our clay jar? 
Good stories or bad stories? 
Prejudice and hate or love and compassion? 
Fear and paranoia or trust and mercy? 
Every word, every story, every drop of liquid, every grain 
that goes into our clay jar has an impact on us, 
teaches us something, 
shapes us into a certain kind of human being. 

And we are so easily broken. 
We look like we’re all put together, 
we can act tough, we sound like we know what we’re doing – 
but you know that expression, 
“Be nice to every person you meet because you never know what battles people are fighting”? 

The reason for kindness is that we are all treasures in clay jars, doing our best to love each other, 
AND love ourselves – 
to finish school and get a job, to raise kids and pay off a mortgage 
(or save for a down payment on a house), to cope with chronic illness, 
to grieve the loss of a child or parent or spouse, to gather courage to leave an abusive relationship, 
to face our own mortality…

You get the idea. 

We are all SPIRIT and LIGHT, HEART and MIND – 
those are the treasures in the clay jars of our bodies. 
No matter what we look like or how we talk, 
we can’t be judged by our appearances. 
That would mean ignoring all the potential, all the wonder, all the beauty hidden inside. 

But those are treasures in clay jars – 
and when a clay jar is broken, it cannot be fixed.
So we need to handle them carefully, 
truly as if they are the only vessel that could ever carry that treasure. 
Always with love, and always as if you were adding a story to the scroll inside. 

~ SJ


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