I caught myself in the mirror yesterday and there were moments that the sight was very ugly! By the evening the contrast between incredibly bright moments as Whitney fashioned a bowl on the lathe were offset by a few ugly thoughts that were nothing but a reflection of my self-god that still lingers within. Combined with a cold that I am fighting and you have the formula for realizing just how far I am from my ideal.
I think my reaction follows a process that most of us go through when we catch ourselves behaving in ways that are a long way from our personal ideal. We know that “wine makes you mean, beer makes you quarrelsome – a staggering drunk is not much fun.” (Proverbs 20.1) Yet somehow that knowledge does not prevent the self-god from taking over and dominating our lives. We long for something that appears to be unreachable and often find ourselves fighting cycles of frustration when we cannot achieve our priorities and goals that we value.
In bright contrast to this frustration was Whitney response to the opportunity to turn a custom bowl. Her confidence and ability to safely follow direction was a model in listening and experimentation that I would do well to follow and from which I could easily learn. The outcome was an interesting bowl that was a natural and beautiful as Whitney herself. The final step came when I wanted to seal in the external beauty.
Whitney: “Dad I want to leave it exactly as it is.”
“What are you looking for?”
Whitney: “I want to feel it, smell it, and enjoy every bit of what emerged from the block of wood.”
Her bowl is now part of her collection and reflects her priorities in life. Experiencing it to the full, enjoying what comes, and responding to God’s call.
Yesterday I thought that I was taking on the role of teacher and mentor. I found my self a student being taught by a great teacher. Now is my opportunity to bring life into my priorities, God helping me.