August 24, 2013

metamorphosis (2)

At the pottery studio, I prefer the wheel.

But there are other ways to shape the clay.  By a bank of windows looking out onto the parking lot, there is a slab roller (picture an old wringer-washer with just one roller bar on a table) for making flat sheets of clay for tiles or handbuilt items.  Just outside the studio, affixed to the wall at the edge of the showroom, is an extruder (imagine a sort of giant pasta- or playdough!- machine) for squishing out clay tubes of various shapes - smooth cylinders, long square boxes, star-shaped hollows, and more.  It looks kind of magical, really:  ball of clay in the top, pull down, tidy shape emerges at the bottom.

I never stopped to think about how the process affects the clay.

On the wheel, the clay is centered, bathed with water, and firmly but gently, slowly - often in three (or more) pulls - coaxed by fingers into a final shape.

Much different from being quickly forced from one shape to another by the strength of unyielding metal.

I'm thinking about the clay, now, feeling the forces of change on my heart.

"O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? 
As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand.
Jeremiah 18:6

Am I - will I be - malleable?

Months ago, a woman I trust told me that God is getting ready to shake up my friendships.  She didn't know that some of my friends were then planning moves, both into and out of my life, physically and emotionally.

Sometimes it feels like betrayal, this change, and sometimes like grace.  Sometimes both.  But always, there is pain.  More the extruder than the wheel, is this process.

I've never been a fan of change - at least not change initiated by another.  It's unsettling to me, like someone else pushing my rocking chair into motion, or a child swinging the hammock I'm resting on.

Maybe the liquidating stage of the chrysalis is over, now, and the formation of the butterfly is beginning ... I hope.  I hope there will be something to show for the squeezing of my heart.

No, not hope.  I trust.

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, 
since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18

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