A few weeks ago I attended a blogger event at Cahaba Clayworks. Andrew and I were in the throes of fixing up the house and it seemed like really awful timing to leave for an evening, but I was committed and Andrew thought a break would do me good.
We sat and watched two masters spin clay while they tried to explain their craft in short easy sentences we could understand. One of the potters explained Centering: the clay needs to be evenly distributed in the center of the wheel so that it won’t wobble and the creation will look the same on all sides.
I quickly discovered that centering the clay was the trickiest part. When I watched the expert hands at work, they seemed to just gently press in and the ball of mud was centered. Then with light fingers they would pull a vase or a cup out of a lump. It was mesmerizing to watch.
But when I sat down at the wheel and tried for myself, I learned that they were actually applying a great deal of downward force on the clay to get it centered.
The wheel would spin wildly and I’d feel the clay be slightly off kilter under my clumsy fingers “ga-loop, ga-loop, ga-loop.”
With some instruction, I leaned in with my shoulders and pressed down with all my might. Suddenly the clay began to simply hum as it spun. Only then could I begin to make something truly lovely.
And that’s sort of what I’ve felt like lately: like the off-centered, off-key lump of clay. Imbalanced by all the spinning and not quite feeling as smooth as I ought.
I need to be centered.
But now I know: only with great pressure can the clay find the even spread.
And so my Potter presses down hard and I cringe and squish and fight, but the spin and the pressure are beginning to take effect. And then once I am centered, He can begin creating with me again, making me into something less lumpy, more beautiful to the eyes.
Fortunately, we’re going to spin our little world over to the beach tomorrow.* The beach is my centering place, where I go to remember I am dust (or mud) and God is so much bigger than all the plates that spin on this planet.
The last time I was at the beach, Mira was the unknown child I longed for, the one I knew was close but so far across the globe. The last time I was at the beach, Finn was outside my field of vision. The last time I was at the beach, I couldn’t have imagined that life could spin any faster. But it did.
So we’re gonna go rest and I’m gonna process and hold my babies and my big kids and swim and think and cry and laugh and soak up my people.
And maybe when I come back, I will hum like I ought and you’ll be able to see the Potter’s fingerprints once again.
To remind me of my day of pottery, I got to bring home a lovely plate for me and one for you.
*Giveaway Closed* Leave me a comment and tell me where you go to find your center, to balance out the rough spots. I’ll pick a winner this weekend and send this lovely plate to you. Thanks to Rachel at Grasping For Objectivity for including me! Go here to read more about the beautiful place we visited.
*Dear Creepy People: Aubrey will be house-sitting for us while we’re gone. She is Ferocious. You’ve been warned.