Friday, June 29, 2012

To Flee the Center

I wish I could be brave enough to put my feeling and fears and tears on paper as much as this one that inspires me does. Every week, several times a week she sits at the screen and mashes out a few paragraphs to let us know we are not alone in our grief. Some of us can’t help but grieve. The creator saw fit to fashion this fragile vessel in such a way that the slightest upset makes me crack. No matter how much I don’t want fractures to appear in my soul… they do.

This is why I disagree with the “happiness is a choice” saying. I think there are choices in what we choose to do with our sorrow, but feeling sad is not something that people choose. I think we can choose to wallow in it and we can choose to place it in the nail scarred hands. That choice is a daily, even hourly decision at times.

Over the last few weeks I have been taking a pottery class. Those of you who consider me a skilled sculptor might be surprised at how difficult it was for me to learn wheel throwing.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Maker whilst watching the skilled potter at work. What she did seemed so easy and yet when I copied her motions my pot did not respond to my touch they way hers did. What a glorious and mysterious task our Creator has! He takes this shapeless lump of clay and works it into a masterpiece.

Do you think of yourself as a masterpiece? Even though I know the truth, the word kind of grates at me… “I’m nothing special… definitely not a masterpiece…” I think.

 Isaiah 45:9 says "Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, "What are you making?' Does your work say, "He has no hands'?

What will result if I continue to quarrel with my maker?

We spent the first three lessons simply learning how to get our clay centered on the wheel. If it is not perfectly center. Centrifugal force will pull on one side more and the piece will “flop.” I have seen it fly off the wheel. I’ve seen the piece collapse.

Centrifugal force is from Latin centrum, meaning "center", and fugere, meaning "to flee." Is the apparent outward force that draws a rotating body away from the center of rotation.

It is a delicate balance to try and form the pot into what you want, while all the time keeping it centered on the wheel. The teachers kept saying, “Slow down… slow down… This takes time.”

I want my Maker to hurry up or at least tell me what he is making. “A masterpiece,” he whispers in his Word.

“No, Lord, tell me WHAT I will be…”

“Something amazing and perfectly skilled in what I have created you to do…”

“I don’t believe you… show me proof,” I quarrel.
“You just have to wait and see…” comes the gentle reply.

“But this is painful.” Centrifugal force threatens to pull me to pieces or at least make me permanently lopsided. I want to flee the center… my Lord.

So my task is to lean into the potter’s hand and let him center me. I cannot center myself… I cannot succumb to the forces that pull on me.

Lord, forgive me for my quarrel. Mold me… shape me… make me yours…  

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Tone that Resonates

I have been reading poetry and poetic writers for years. A tone that resonates in my soul. The Psalmist sings to me thousands of years later. Many times the hum that draws me dissipates and eventually disappears.

I panic.

Have I lost my way?

The creator whispers … silence… be still.

And then I hear it: the music within.

I answer it. I let it flow through me from my heart to my finger tips.

This has happened to me too often to count. I panic in the silence after my tutors have played for me. The silence may last only a moment. The silence may last an entire year. Usually it lasts longer if I fail to lean into it.

I cry aloud. I go to sleep. I search for answers in many places. I numb myself with noise: audible and visual noise. Why do I need white noise in my life?

When the silence is where the discovery begins and the beauty reveals.

Today I make a vow to not panic in the silence, but make a choice to remember that is where the melody is found.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Things You'd Rather Not Look At

You didn’t log into your Facebook page to be confronted with injustices in the world. You came to post a picture of a neat dessert you made, see the pictures of your newborn nephew, and complain about your bad haircut. You needed to get your two cents in that Facebook fight you’re having. You needed to check on your Farmtown crops.

There are things you’d rather not look at. There are crimes committed against humanity… Against children…

O LORD, Why do you make me look at injustice? (Hab 1:3)

I read a startling statistic today. “An estimated 5.3 million children between the ages of five and eighteen are forced into sex trafficking in India.”

In one country! Sex trafficking happens all over the world. Even in our own country… but we like to pretend it doesn’t happen any more. We like to think that it is something that happened in societies of yester-year. We watch movies with prostitutes in an old western saloon… jaded women who seem to enjoy the “career” of pleasing men.

BUT what you don’t know.

Prostitutes come from broken homes and have deep emotional scars. They feel they have no other option. Many are FORCED into the sex trade at ages that would turn your stomach. Children are kid-napped and forced into the trade. In some societies, once a woman enters the sex trade (willingly or unwillingly) she can never escape that status. She is an untouchable…

These are the things we don’t want to look at. We would rather watch a slasher movie on the silver screen than to look at actual injustice. AND we find violence ENTERTAINING. We are more offended that our movie club double charged us this month than at the crimes committed against the human race.

I have spent more hours watching movies in my lifetime than I have spent reading about current events in my community… my country… the world. I have read more fiction… play more games… twiddled my thumbs… cuddled my cats… thrown Frisbee with my dog… (for crying out loud) blow-dried my HAIR…

Been concerned with my own emotional well-being and physical health… never to consider the emotional scars and life-threatening disease that claims the lives of millions of CHILDREN each year.

I have fallen asleep… and I am a card-carrying Christian. I have been given the great commission. I have been CALLED to care for widows and orphans.

My heart is broken. My priorities are being questioned. Not by any human being… by the Creator of the Universe.

I cannot sleep on this… night after night, I ask God what I can do. I am willing Lord. Wake me up out of this slumber. Move other hearts to make a difference too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More on Rubble

How long does it take before the rubble in our lives become familiar?

I drove past the old mill site today. I drive past it every day… several times a day. Today I slowed down and pondered the debris. There is a thought that quickly enters and exits my mind each time:

When will they clear the rubble away?

What are they waiting for? It made sense that they took their time picking through… recycling scrap metal… salvaging one hundred and twenty year old wood... stacking good bricks onto pallets and shuffling pallets into neat rows. Selling off the valuables first… but now… now it’s nothing but piles of concrete and cinder block. . piles of wood chips… piles of asbestos. TRASH… sorted.. separated… but ALL TRASH.

Refuse with no value… littering the landscape… worthless waste from bygone ways. When will they take it away? Where will they take it to? Where CAN it go? A hole in the ground? How is that any better place than where it currently lies?

I am so familiar with the sight and yet this familiarity does not breed fondness. It is like a corn on my heel… a crack in my palm… a pimple on a particularly tender place. Uncomfortable familiarity.

Today my mind is drawn to the debris in my mind… rubble in my relationships. Baggage, we call it. Eleven years I’ve been married and yet it seems like such a short time to have little piles of refuse between us. Habits we have fallen into… buttons that are so easily pushed.

Sometimes we are hot, on fire… raging mad. Sometimes frigid, freezing cold. The cold times never last long but this warm-blooded woman, does not weather them well. I don’t think he does either. Like any good southern girl, I’m ready for spring.

I spent years sorting through my own rubble. Picking through… looking for valuables, all the while trying to rebuild my life, in the strength of the Repairer of Broken Walls. I realize now that he and I spent sometime tearing down the very wall we were trying to build...

Now I stare at this pile of stones. There IS so much debris here! How can we rebuild this section of the wall? This pile of refuse has become uncomfortably familiar. We walk around it… skirt it carefully. We act as if it’s radioactive.

When will we take it away?

Where can we take it?

Where can it go?

Love, I don’t think we can…

Thankfully we know ONE who can. I think just have to be willing to surrender it.