Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Potters and Clay

Year 4-Day 112:  Today, I am grateful we can encourage and build each other up...guided by the Master Potter.

Why is it that human brain holds on to words of criticism so tightly...but must hear encouragement over and over to heal and build up what others have torn down? It is true. 

Although I don't love criticism...there are times I need it to grow. If tempered with love and offered with is powerful. Other times, I long to be surrounded by those who make it their mission to sprinkle a little encouragement wherever they go. 

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. -1 Thessalonians 5:11

Our Morton Potters school mascot has taken some criticism.  Confession time...I've spooned it out.  I was a Comet. I grew up a "Comet"! Then at Olivet, I was a "Tiger". Yes, fabulous mascots! To embrace being  a "Potter" was tough.  But, when I began my "new life" at Morton Jr. High, I will never forget what our assistant principal said..."You've got to own it." I have never looked back, but only recently have I started to develop a true love for all "The Potter" represents. 

Morton had a pottery. It made us unique to the area. It embraces our history and the pottery was a source of pride for the community. Today, I am re-framing my opinion on our mascot. Although it is not a comet,  an eagle, a panther, a knight, or a bulldog, Dr. Seuss would say..." is a little bit more". 

Potters throw clay down and begin to work...and work...and work...and after time and effort, it isn't coming out quite right.  What do they do? They rework the clay. It can happen over and over. It can be frustrating, grueling, messy and time-consuming, but it is always a labor of love when hands go to clay. 

The weather may impact the potter's success. Sometimes, it feels like he is literally "spinning his wheels" and getting nowhere. Some clay is stubborn...other clay seems to refuse to take direction. But even the stubborn clay...over time...will eventually come to a place where it yields... to the potter's expert guiding hand and becomes. Yes, it becomes something it never dreamed it could be. 

Isn't that what schools do? Educators try to embrace "the clay" that arrives. It comes in many different forms with different attributes, but they make it work. Some are easy to guide and shape, but others are resist all the way... but are the most rewarding when they discover their shape and purpose. 

Some dear to my heart and now over 50 years old...tells of the school custodian who offered sanctuary and an encouraging word when life got tough. He didn't have a classroom, but his work was equally important. In this case, a defeated child did not give up. The potter's tools are can be a mop and a bucket. 

The potter and clay, when working together, can shape a future. I like to think that many of the students shaped within the walls of our Morton 709 buildings will leave to make a positive mark on the world. 

I think of the scripture from Isaiah 64:8-

But now, O Lord, you are our Father;

    we are the clay, and you are our potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.

Submission to the Master Potter changes everything. When we yield...His real work can begin. Grace saves us...but His loving hand transforms us. We are no longer who we were..and are not yet who he longs for us to be. We are works in progress. I love that!

"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."-Hebrews 12:11

Yes...our "Potter" mascot has new meaning. I no longer have to "own it". I have learned to love it.

Today, I am grateful we can encourage and build each other up...guided by the Master Potter.

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