As a child, I use to eat dirt. I know, not because Iíve been told, but because I remember. Even today the fragrance of damp, rich soil fills me with an odd yearning Ė an unsatisfied hunger. Maybe thatís where my love of clay, my enchantment with Eden began.
Potterís hands fascinate me Ė draw me Ė mesmerize me. I could watch them endlessly. Iíve never been able to shake this longing to thrust my own hands deep into moistened clay and birth Ė newness. From an apparent lump of meaninglessness, recover hidden beauty and purpose.
Clay, achingly impressionable. The merest touch, even an unknown presence, leaves its mark, altering the clayís direction to its own. Such exposed vulnerability. Thatís why clay begs a masterís touch. A touch directed by love of the vessel itís to become. Love, protecting it from the fiery furnace until itís ready to be hardened, ready for permanency.
Rejectionís hands were one of the earliest potter touches my son knew. Their calloused pressure fell all too familiarly on the tender clay of his little heart. Rejection wears many faces, but this potterís touch, regardless of the face, remains the same. It mars, always, even if the marring lies hidden behind a smile.
This motherís heart never dreamed, while carrying Loveís precious gift within the safety of her womb, a gift that had known only the Master Potterís touch, the harshness of the world her firstborn would enter. She only knew how much she loved him when he finally lay within her arms. When their heartbeats joined, echoing one another, as they nestled together within those early days, she couldnít envisage the countless potters waiting to claim the clay her heart so cherished. But they came.
Longing for love, my son found indifference. Reaching out for acceptance, this precious clay met coldness. ďI love youĒs fell from little lips into a vacuum of silence sucking out all hope of life.
Rejectionís an insidious creature. Hiding behind many facades itís a relentless taskmaster preying upon those most vulnerable. And its nature spreads like a plague, infesting the most unsuspecting. By the time my son entered third grade the disease had been caught by so many within his world that their heartless, calloused touch seemed normal to him. And this priceless clay, so beloved by the Master Potter, didnít know how to remove himself from the molding touch of these love-less potters.
Into the swirling, darkened void at the beginning of beginnings, a Master Potter spoke light. His feet tread upon the sod of His earthen creation and His fingers gently grasped the clay, kneading firmly, fashioning the form of a man until it took on the likeness of Himself. The Potterís own breath exhaled, tenderly, into the clay held with such care in His hands, and lifelessness, knowing the breath of the Potter, awoke.
The Master Potter still breathes and faithfully His breath continued to fall upon my first-born. Yet the passage of years didnít decrease the number of Rejection potters my son knew, even within the church. So he has left what should have been the safety of those walls, of those hearts. Today, shackled by cruel potters, a smile, a gentle spirit tries to hide the marring work years of subjection to these hands have wrought, until the Master Potterís touch appears covered over, often unrecognizable.
Love, in molding the precious clay, created man for relationship. Relationship with God. Relationship with man. Itís difficult for the wounded to lay hold of relationship with God when itís not reflected within his own world by relationship with man.
And relationship refuses to lie dormant. It finds a way. Deprived of truth, of light, it will feed on darkness, on the shadow of a lie. Thus ancient, ever-new potters emerge to spin the potterís wheel for todayís clay. Seemingly real, yet void of life, these relationship mirages lie only a keystroke away, feeding a famished mankind. Their insidious, twisted touch upon vulnerable clay leaves its marring prints deep upon soul soil.
Longing for love, wounded sons accept the embrace of loveís mirage. Reaching for acceptance, marred clay yields to lieís offerings . . . the only relationship its hungry heart can find. A sinister potter spins the wheel . . .
...without form and void, and darkness lay upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God hovered ...
The Spirit of God hovers still. Hovers over clay having known the touch of other potters. Hovers over clay still vulnerable, still achingly impressionable, still yearning for the Master Potter. A Potter who has been ever present.
My son no longer fits snuggly within the crook of this motherís arms, where she can nestle him close to her heart. He has outgrown that first embrace. He remains, however, as do we all, clay upon a potterís wheel. Many potters come, potters I canít protect him from, potters who would fashion him after their own likeness. And I am one. But I entrust this cherished clay to another Potterís hands. Hands gnarled and scarred by man. Hands of the Master Potter Who reaches down, grasps the clay firmly, lovingly, gently and faithfully working the beloved clay until its form takes on once more the image of Himself. Then bending, with sweetest kiss-like touch, breathes His spirit of life anew.
The Master Potter holds my heart. His love, His grace mesmerizes me. The mercies of His loving hands fascinate me as they reach for this clay to mold her into His likeness. The odd yearning, the unsatisfied hunger awakened by the fragrance of dampened soil remains. A reminder that I, and all I love, lie but clay in the Master Potterís hand.
What an anointed artcle, "In a Potter's Hand."
May we be ever willing to submitt to the Master Potter's hand, and may we be ever mindful to allow his love to overflow to those arounds us.
Mush Love, Rita