I suspect that you may have come across this tale before, but it is worth recounting and to enable us to consider what we have in our own jars. A professor was once stood in front of his class of students and he produced a large glass jar which he placed on the desktop for all to see. He then picked up a bucket containing some rocks and tipped them into the jar until they reached the brim of the jar.
“Is the jar full?” the professor asked his students.
There was a murmur of assent. The professor picked up a second bucket and this one contained pebbles. He poured them into the jar and they spilled downwards finding their way through the cracks and gaps between the rocks.
“Would you say the jar is full now?”
There was another murmur of assent although a few students remained silent waiting for the professor’s next gesture.
The professor picked up a third bucket and this time he tipped sand into the jar. The granules percolated their way between the rocks and the pebbles, until the third bucket was empty.
“Would you agree that the jar is full this time?” asked the professor.
There were more nods of agreement as the students wondered what else could possibly be added to the jar which now contained rocks, pebbles and sand. The professor produced a pint of beer and tipped this into the jar. The liquid was absorbed into the sand, turning into a dark brown. The professor waited for the gentle laughter to abate and then spoke.
“The jar represents your life. The rocks are all the important things which really matter. Your health, your family, your partner and your children. The pebbles represent other important matters but on a smaller scale, for instance your job, money, friendships and your home. The sand amounts to the small stuff in life. If you put the sand in first and the pebbles there will be no room for the rocks. If you fill up your life with the minutae you will not be able to accommodate the really important things which matter. You need to prioritise what you feel your life up with in order to be fulfilled rather than worrying about the small stuff.”
The lecture theatre erupted into smiles. A student raised his hand.
“Professor, what does the beer represent?”
“Ah, I am glad you asked. That goes to show that in everyone’s life there is always room for a beer.”
I found this tale interesting and wondered what would be in people’s jars? What would yours look like now? I am not prone to introspection but on this occasion I went to the figurative cupboard at the top of the house and opened it up to examine my large, glass jar. It was full to the brim with darkness.