I recently read a book by Camille Fronk called In the Hands Of the Potter. It is a small book, a quick read...but had a lovely message, drawing strongly from the metaphor of how we are all like clay in God's hands and how He shapes us.
Isaiah said, "But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; and we are the work of thy hand."
Taking this further...God uses us all as instruments in his hands. In this way we are all a part of this process, we too are potters. We can leave impressions on the lives of those around us. Obviously as parents, but also as friends and family members.
Recently two of my boys began taking pottery from, Tim, an old family friend of ours. He was a lot like a cousin to me as a kid, somehow their family felt like relatives. His dad and mine were both artists and friends -each with large families. It was on my birthday in first grade that his dad was killed in a car accident. It was tragic and horrible- it haunted me for a long time...a sick feeling in my little stomach - it was too close to home. A couple years after that their family moved away.
During their first pottery lesson, Tim, was getting the boys comfortable using the clay, getting them familiar with the basics; giving them the confidence to explore...because you cannot ruin anything that cannot be fixed or redone. He assured them that in time it would seem easy, that it takes time and years of playing with the clay to learn its properties and how it works. He told them that he was close to their age the first time he was turned on to clay and working with it. He told us that it was actually my dad who gave him his first experience with it. Apparently my dad sculpted his fathers grave marker and had young Tim along and participating in it...and that began his interest in working with clay. My father made an impression on Tim and now he is making one on my sons.
Life is full of connections like this...we all affect each other. We help shape the lives around us through our interactions and influence. And I believe that God is pleased when we are a part of that work...when we help to guide and beautify our fellow lumps of clay. And when something or someone comes along that leaves us misshapen or wobbly, somebody else will come along to put a steady and practiced hand on the vessel to bring it back or there is always the option to scrape off the wheel and start again with God's help. As Tim emphasized with the boys, there is no waste, and there is always another chance for that clay to become something wonderful...ready for the kiln...which is another thought altogether...