A Jar of Sauce Can Make You Bigger

“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” Max Depree

It’s funny how the seemingly simplest events in life can be doorways into profound moments of self-realization and growth. I had a meltdown this afternoon. Albeit brief, it had all the qualities of a full-fledged tantrum. It was no fun.

There I was in my kitchen making lasagna for the dinner guests I was expecting. All was going well. I was organized, had everything moving smoothly and was thoroughly enjoying chopping and sautéing and tasting bits and pieces of delicious ingredients. In the middle of my happy, creative storm the phone rang. It was my husband who has been away for the first week of a three-week adventure.

I was delighted to hear his voice; I was hoping he’d call. We caught up on the mundane details of his trip and how I was doing managing alone. Then he began to share some of the deeper layers of his inspired musings with regard to our life together. He told me his attention had been on some of the rather large life changes we’ve both been percolating on for a while.

My pulse began to quicken as he described from his fresh perspective, and the space between us, how he’s ready and committed to step into a larger life for him/us. He talked about wanting to move on the ideas we’ve both been flirting with for a while. He asked me if I was willing to join him in pushing the envelope of our comfortable and somewhat out grown life.

I listened, felt the renewal in his spirit and could find agreement and admiration with what he was saying. He was determined to grow and push himself and us into new territory. We completed our conversation on a loving note both aware that there would be a “communication blackout” for the next week as he heads into the New Mexico desert.

I immediately went back to my lasagna project. The next task to be completed was opening the jar of sauce. I couldn’t get it open for the life of me! I hit the bottom, ran it under hot water, banged on the top, dug out the rubber jar opener thingy– it still wouldn’t budge. “Ok”, I thought, “I’m smart”. I know how to walk away from frustration and then re-approach with a new perspective. I put the jar down, walked away and returned a few minutes later and tried again. I still couldn’t get that @#@% lid loose.

That was it. I began to cry, I wanted to throw the jar across the room. I was on the floor of the kitchen sobbing over a stuck lid. Fortunately, I was alone in the house, I’m sure I sounded ridiculous. After about a minute the thought crossed my mind, “What are you really upset about?” Instantly, I went back to my conversation with Jeremy. I realized I was scared. Scared of the inevitable growth that was on both of our doorsteps.

There on the floor, my favorite quote from Anais Nin sprang to mind, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  I knew in my heart of hearts the bud HAD gotten too tight and he was right, it is, indeed, time to blossom.

For better or worse, what I’ve come to discover, is that it often takes the courage (or fumbling) of one person in a partnership to lead the way into a growth cycle. For one person to be willing to push against convention and through the comfort zone into new and scary territory makes you both bigger.

I took a deep breath, wiped my eyes on the dishtowel and went for the jar of sauce. It opened with no effort.

I finished the lasagna. As it was baking I felt myself start to relax. Whatever we have to face we’ll do it as a team. We’ll blossom together. I can do that.

It’s YOUR life…imagine the possibilities!

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