Southern Living, Part 2: Sweet Tea in Mason Jars

Ah, the mason jar: a simple glass jar that comes with a metal top and a screw-on lid. In it’s best and most beautiful form, it comes filled thick strawberry preserves with a bright red bow tied at the base of the lid; layered with flour, sugar, cinnamon and chocolate chips, with a recipe for chocolate chip cookies attached with a pretty brown and white polka-dot ribbon; or, simply filled to the brim with ice-cold sweet tea.

My friend Robert tweeted the other day that “sweet tea in mason jars is a rite of passage in the south.” Indeed. There’s no feeling quite like the one evoked by a mason jar full of sweet tea, with a straw in the center and beads of condensation dripping down the sides.

That first sip quenches the thirst, the second calms the mind, and the third brings with it a slew of other images associated with life in the south: watermelon and cantaloupe (salted, of course), fireflies and the smell of freshly mown grass on a cozy July evening, fireworks, flip flops, poolside pizza parties, I could go on.

I won’t, but you get the idea. Sipping sweet tea out of a mason jar is more than just a refreshing treat on a hot day. It’s an experience.

The other day, I had one such experience. My favorite coffee shop, where I go to study/do school work/write has started serving their iced teas in mason jars. It used to be plastic cups. Sometimes when I go there and have already had too much caffeine, I get an iced peppermint tea instead of coffee.

This time, I placed my order like always, went to my seat out on the back porch and set up to read. Tim brought me my iced tea, and it was in a mason jar. It totally threw off my reading plan for a few minutes. In a good way.

I took the first sip. Refreshing, cool and delicious. It immediately put me in contemplation mode and I started reflecting on the past few years of graduate school (the student debt I’ve accrued, financial woes),my insane and at times disheartening summer, and then my thoughts turned to the way that God has always provided for me and for my family.

God has never really been gone. Oh, trust me, it’s definitely felt that way but, the moments that make it clear to me that God’s never really left me, are some of the sweetest and I wouldn’t trade any of the things that had to happen for me to get to that place.

Yep. All that from a glass of sweet tea. No, a mason jar of sweet tea.

 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  TheLord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”    – Exodus 14:13-14

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