Saturday, September 3, 2011

Put a Lid On It

"When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom- 'Let it be.'"
~Paul McCartney

It's nearly that time of year again-the grapes are hanging heavy and plump on our abundant vines, ready for picking, and I will soon be busy harvesting and cooking them into juice for jelly. I've been making about 20 dozen jars of grape jelly every year for the past 20 years since we've been in this house and I always have lots to share with family and friends. My last few batches of jelly didn't turn out very well, they never set quite right and I was embarrassed to share it with others lest my reputation as an expert jelly maker become tarnished, and so I became discouraged and put jelly making onto the bottom of my to-do list. But I need freezer space so it's time to get cooking again to make room for all of the new batches of juice that is on the way.

I bought a case of sure-jel, which makes the jelly set, on discount, and blamed it as a bad batch resulting in my lack of success with my most recent attempts at jelly making. But today I found out the real reason that my jelly hadn't been setting. We had recently purchased a new stove and the burners automatically re-adjust the heat, so instead of a full boil in about ten minutes, I would stand at the stove stirring the jelly for an hour and still couldn't get it to boil enough to bring about a good set. It wasn't the sure-gel after all, it was the lack of consistent heat that caused my jelly to fail.

So I tried something new. Instead of standing and constantly stirring the juice as I have done for the past 20 years, I put a lid on it as it cooked and turned my back to the stove while I occupied myself washing the dishes. Before long I had a full rolling boil and a perfect batch of jelly.

I realized that I often make the same mistake in my spiritual and emotional life that I had been making with the jelly. I stand and keep watch, stirring and fretting over details, working myself into a panicked frenzy until I crash into depression over my inability to get things to work out right, meaning, the way I would like them to be instead of the way that God would like them to be. What I really need to do is put a lid on my worries, turn my back and walk away for a while. I need to let things simmer and cook under God's every watchful eye, not mine. God in His wisdom will see to it through His perfect will that everything will turn out just right. I will always be deeply loved by Him and I will grow into the spiritual and emotional maturity that I long for without my having to interfere. He will always have plenty of His perfect love to share just as I will always have plenty of perfect jelly to share. All I have to do is put a lid on it!


  1. I find canning so therapeutic but haven't done it in a couple of years. We don't have a garden so canning involves some driving to buy the tomatoes and then all the cooking, etc. Your grape jelly looks wonderful! (One little correction - the lyrics are by Paul McCartney. I live with a houseful of Beatles fans so it's hard not to know these things)

  2. Thanks for the correction TLW, of course you're right!