Throwing Wheel

When I grow up, I want to have a throwing wheel in my house. When I throw, all my problems seem to go away. I get in this zone where the only thing that matters is the creation I am making literally out of mud. I am playing “God” in a sense, but I do not find joy in the result; I find joy in the process.

I would regard myself as a contemporary artist in that the process is just as (if not sometimes more) important as the result. It is one of the few areas in life where the end goal is not an accolade of some sort. Yes, there are contests and prizes for contemporary pieces like any other form of art, but the true artist does not find their value in that.

Is God a contemporary artist? At first I am tempted to say no. He physically made us very quickly. We are man, and our physical figures were formed at conception. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…God saw all that he had made and it was very good” (Genesis 1:27, 31a.) Based on this passage, God had created, and he was content with his creations.

Upon more thought, I think that God is a sneaky contemporary artist. God enjoys and loves his physical creations, but that is not the limit of his work. (Side note: I love how we try to limit God but he is like “no thanks. I am going to do my thing.” But that story is for another day.) His work is done at the end of time and his children enter his kingdom; until that day, he constantly molds us and shapes us. I am a work in progress and you are a work in progress–a work that God so delicately touches in order to bring you closer to him. He works through the unexpected ways, but he loves to work through his children–his other creations.

I am reminded of the artist Sol LeWitt. LeWitt writes blueprints for massive installations but rarely touches a wet drop of paint or the cold surface of a pencil. He often would not even step in the gallery until the work was deemed finished by curators. God laid the blueprint of our lives through creating a unique body and placing us each in a specific family to form our  lives, but that is only the beginning. We flourish as we grow with age; we flourish as we let God mold us and shape us into what he intends us to be.

The obvious verse Isaiah 64:8 comes to mind: “You Lord are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Without allowing God to mold and shape us, we are just a lump of dry dirt sitting ing bags or out in nature just living. As we are thrown on the wheel, we are dramatically changed. Water is constantly being added to make us more maleable, and excess clay that takes away from the overall piece or weighs down a particular part of the piece is scraped off. We are constantly spinning but at changing rates depending on the level of detail and force that must be applied.

If I have children some day, I want them to be intimate with this process. I would love for them to see the obvious metaphor of allowing God to be their potter. I want them to actively participate in the sacred process of creation. I want them to personally know how difficult some blocks of clay are and how to work through those, only applying perseverance just the right amount of force. I want them to know when to barely touch the clay and when to just let it be.

When I grow up, I want to have a throwing wheel in my house.

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Weekend in Indy (with the rents this time)

This past weekend I had the privilege to host my parents. They live about an eleven-hour drive away, so I have not seen them that much this year. This was actually the third time I have seen them since Christmas, so I was nervous. I had a couple of freak out moments before the got here, but it was good. Word of advice: take a moment to breathe. Breathing is good.

Anyway, we made cake pops, watched Tour de France, cooked stir fry, took a walk, watched some bike races in Indy, went to the IMA, kayaked on the canal, and just lived. It was so nice to just be, you know?

Here are some pics…hope you enjoy!

Tough Love

It’s something we need but rarely get; it’s something we think about but rarely give. It is so much easier to be the nice guy and say what people want to hear rather than tell them what they need to hear.

I am known as the honest one of my friends. Anyone that has spoken to me for an extended amount knows I tell it like it is. I do not screw around trying to protect someone’s feelings. I shoot straight to the point. If you don’t want my advice, don’t tell me about your problems. Unless you tell me pre-conversation that you need to just vent and don’t want a response, I will very rarely hold back my opinion.

Many people would look down on this and say something like, “you never tell a woman she looks fat in a dress.” Actually you do because otherwise they will buy a dress that makes them look fat and will walk around and show it off because it is new. And everyone will think she looks fat. Instead, you point them to a dress that flatters their figure better. Every body type can be dressed well; you just have to figure out what shapes look best on you.

Let’s say you are the body. You are beautiful when dressed appropriately. The dress you are trying on is a response to a crisis. You go to a friend and they tell you to keep it on because it looks great on you, but in reality you look like a wreck. Absolutely horrible. And anyone that can open their eyes can see it. You let your friend walk around wearing this dress because you didn’t tell her the truth. You could have saved her a world of hurt if you just got over yourself and were honest. Let’s try the second scenario. Your friend tries on a dress, and it looks bad. So you tell her it looks bad (not her) and find some pieces that will flatter her figure more. You give her options—options that are logical. You could even compare the choices. “This one flatters your hips but makes your chest look inverted; however this one over here makes your chest look fantastic but everything else looks like an after-thought.” Lay out the choices and the possible consequences of each.

There is a time to listen and stroke your friend’s hair and say, “everything will be okay. Just take it day by day.” However, there comes a point where you need to say, “Your world is not over. You are okay. Now let’s move on.” Or something like, “You are making a horrible mistake. Please do not do this. I will be here no matter which way you go, but I will have to pick you up in pieces if you go this way.”

Honestly, they might hate you for a little while. Or a long while. Either way, you know you were a loyal friend and had to do the tough but right thing and tell them the truth. So many people lie to our faces on a daily basis—don’t we owe it to ourselves to be honest to the ones we are closest to? I spend so much time guessing what people are actually thinking; I would much rather spend time investing in those relationships.

Believe it or not, I still have friends. Sometimes they don’t like what I have to say, but our bonds are significantly strengthened on the other side of a crisis and we can look back and see who was really there for each other in ways we didn’t even know we needed at the time.

I pray for people to speak more truth into my life—not out of malice or desire to make me feel bad, but out of genuine concern and love for me.