so, it’s been a week now…

Well, it’s been a week since I returned from the Women’s Retreat.  Actually, as I glance at the clock, I realize it been almost exactly a week, to even the hour!  So, I suppose it’s time to start writing out some of the things that happened, and some of the changes that I’m making.  Definitely going to have to take more than one post for this… kinda like reading a a series for my faithful 3 readers!  Aren’t you just too excited for words???

Okay, so let this entry be about the speaker.

She was GREAT.  I don’t remember her last name, but her first name is Rachel.  Easy for me to remember since I have a Rachel of my own.  She is a professional potter.  Yeah.  She makes all sorts of ceramic-y type stuff.  Really nice stuff.  And very functional… even can be used in the oven!  So, the first time she spoke to the group, it was about the process of pottery making.  She was sitting behind a wheel that had a lump of shapeless clay on it, and she just started the wheel up and worked with the clay as she was speaking.  First, she talked about the “wedging” process.  This is done before the clay hits the wheel.  It’s the process of smashing, and working with the clay to make sure all of the lumps, and air bubbles, and impurities are removed.  It’s hard work, this wedging process!  Takes a lot of muscle, and according to Rachel, is the least favorite part of the process for students she teaches.  They all want to get to the “fun” part of creating something.  But unless this is done properly, when the vessel they’ve created gets to the ovens, it will explode (air bubbles), or just plain won’t look right.

So, after the wedging is the centering.  This is done on the wheel, and it pretty much means to get the clay to the center of the wheel.  If it’s not in the center, then it kind of whops around the wheel in a painfully awkward movement.  When it’s centered, the rhythm is almost hypnotic to watch.

Next, is to make the form that the potter has in his/her vision.  As a viewer of the process, I don’t have her vision, but I can see it emerge slowly from a shapeless lump into something beautiful and functional almost magically.  Rachel created a pitcher in front of our eyes, and then, also in front of our eyes, smashed it.  We were all a little shocked.  I think we had grown attached to the pitcher we had seen grow from a shapeless lump into something recongnizable!  But, there is a reason for everything.

So, after she talked us through and demonstrated the creating process of pottery making, she switched and started talking about how pottery making is such a picture of the love our Creator has for us. 

We, as formless lumps, are wedged.  Sometimes we (as the lumps) would much rather skip this process because it does hurt.  I don’t like being smushed, and prodded, and worked on.  But, like the pottery pieces Rachel creates, if the “air bubbles” and impurities in my life aren’t worked out, then when I hit the “fire” (read: hard times)  then I’m not going to be able to take the heat. 

Centering was the part that really struck a chord with me.  Once we’ve been giving the work-over, we have to be centered in God to be able to become a unique creation.  Centering a piece of clay is not easy from what I saw.  She had to push on it, and take little pieces off here and there, and work the clay with both hands to get it where it needed to be.  According to Rachel, centering really is the process of knowing when and where to push, and when and where to yield.    God does this in our lives.   He pushes and yields when needed to bring us to His center. 

Next, is the fun part!  Creating the work of art!  This part reminded me so very much that the times I am not happy with who I am, or where I’m at, or even how I look… I’m not the Creator!  I don’t have the Vision!  And for me to be unhappy with what I have/look like etc… is like if a bowl were to say, “I don’t like being a bowl.  Can I please be a flower pot?”  It’s ridiculous!!!  I know I’m completely guilty of looking at other people’s lives and wishing that I had that “perfect” life.  I do!  I have MY perfect life, because it’s the one given to me by the God that created me! 

In the end, when Rachel smashed the pitcher, she reminded us that sometimes, God calls us to do different things in our lives.  When He needs us for a different purpose, He has to remake us, and the process is not always fun.   In a later post I will talk about my current “remaking” process… but really, it’s not always fun.  What I have to remember now,  is that while the re-wedging is painful, it’s neccessary, and the results are going to be beautiful… if I keep myself centered in God.  If not, I’ll either remain a shapeless lump, or be off-centered and unable to be worked with.  I DON’T WANT TO BE EITHER.  My prayer is

“God, I don’t want to be a lump.  God, I don’t want to be so self-centered that I’m unable to be used by You.  Make me into something beautiful and worthy of use.”

That’s the veryveryvery short version of our first/second chats with Rachel the potter.

One Comment on “so, it’s been a week now…

  1. Good stuff Whit. I feel like such a shmo that you were over the house the other day and we didn’t even ask about the retreat. Sorry. 😦

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