Thursday, April 11, 2013

JAR OF HEARTS

My Message Jar

I am very lucky to have some really great friends.  One of them is my friend Amy.  At the time of my chemo Amy was a very busy lady with three kids under 8, a full time job, tons of activities with her kids including hockey, and yet she somehow found time to do something very special for me.  I had no idea what she was up to.

One day she came over for a visit and she brought me an amazing gift.  It was a message jar.  Never heard of it?  I hadn’t either.  But it is fantastic!  It really is a wonderful idea and totally comes from the heart.  It is a clear, glass jar with a lid.  It is about 10 inches high and about 5 inches in diameter.  The jar is filled with small pieces of paper rolled up and tied with tiny pink ribbons.  Each piece of paper has a message on it from one of my friends, family or colleagues.  Amy had acquired a copy of my email address book from my husband and then she had sent an email to everyone asking them to contribute a message for me.

She then printed them all, cut them in strips, rolled them up and then tied them with pink ribbon.  I have no idea how much time that took – especially the ribbons.  What a painstaking, tedious and frustrating job that must have been.  That in itself was a pretty clear indication that Amy really is a great friend or that she is just plain crazy.  Anyway, the messages were quite something.  Some were funny, some were sayings, some were little memories of times shared with the writer, and some were of hope and inspiration.

Amy & I - 2003
I have read and re-read these messages of encouragement, hope, strength, friendship and faith many times.  I imagine I will keep the jar close by for many years and turn to it whenever I might be in need of a little lift, a good cry, or a good laugh.

Here is a taste of the types of things people wrote for the jar of hearts (keep in mind that a couple are probably quotes from famous people but in most cases that information was not referenced).

Amy - Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breaths away.

Rosanna - A teacher and our school secretary are organizing a pink day this month.  I talked to my class about “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and about charity and friendship and you.  Everyone is being encouraged to wear pink that day and at first the boys were flat out against it!  “Why not purple?” they said.  After I told them that I had a friend who was recently diagnosed and going through treatment for breast cancer one boy came up to me at the end of the day and said that he had changed his mind and that he would wear pink and lots of it.  I can’t wait to see it.  I’m having a contest on Friday and the pinkest person gets lunch with me (how lucky they are).  I’m also going to plan other pink activities.  Some kids knew lots about breast cancer and some knew nothing, but they were all able to relate to struggle and friendship and overcoming obstacles – including wearing pink for a day.

Jennifer - When you come to a road block – take a detour. 

Lynn - I am struggling in my effort to find any words of wisdom or even solace and for that, I’m sorry.  What I’m not struggling with however, is the knowledge that you have overcome heartache, loss and disillusionment in your life before and have met it head on with grace, dignity and strength of character.  Of that, there is no doubt.  Know that many people are thinking of you, praying for you and are literally, only a phone call away. 

Rich - Your tenth anniversary at our place, drinking daiquiris in the backyard in the kiddie pool a.k.a. “spa” – we’ve never laughed so hard!

Vicky - How’s it goin’ eh ? 

Arthur & Christine - Every person that has had some deeper contact with you will attest that you are without a doubt the most generous soul we know, you put the human in human being and you probably don’t have a lot of time for yourself because people gravitate towards those they admire and who make them feel good.  You are one heck of a cool tough chick Tracy…not to mention you managed to domesticate that wild horse which is my lovely brother Mike, I believe they have a category in the Nobel peace prize for that kind of thing.

Stefan - I always thought that there was strength in numbers…you proved me wrong.  I admire you.

Walter - I was shocked to hear about your condition and will be praying for your healthy and speedy recovery.  I’m assuming you caught this from Mike…see I always knew you would have been far better off with ME!!!  Love and prayers. 

Anne-Marie - How do you get 10 good looking men in uniform to respond to you instantly?  LOCK YOUR KIDS IN THE VAN (by accident) & CALL 911.  Then watch the friendly firemen in action.  Ha ha ha ha ha…..I laugh every time I think of this, you crazy nut…Love and Laughter Always. 

Vida - Your positive outlook on life is a true inspiration to all of us.  Your attitude and determination is a lesson for all.  Thanks for being YOU!!

Sheila - Pick the friend who not only wants to ride with you in the limo, but who will also take the bus with you, when the limo breaks down. 

Amy & I - 2010

If you have a message you would like to add to the jar, please note it in the comments below (as “anonymous” if you want) or send me a message at tebotarnowski@gmail.com and I will be sure to include your message.  That jar will be around for years to come.


A heartfelt thank you to Amy for this incredible gift.


Jar of Hearts - Christina Perri

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