"Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
~ Joshua 1:9
This morning as I sat and drank my coffee, listening to our pond, and looking at the flowers around, I suddenly realized that this planter had invited me on a journey.
It's hard to believe that forty-seven years ago, while visiting my grandparents one summer after they had retired, that my sister and I each had a ceramic project with our grandmother. I remember deciding upon this piece. It was white when I first started with it. I remember taking a tool and etching lines into the sides of it, slowly wetting the tool, and scraping. I remember it seeming to "take forever." My hands became white from the dust, and I can still feel the "chalkiness," of the dust. My hands quickly became dry from the plaster.
Once I had the lines as I wanted them, it was time to decide on the color. I remember painting this piece, and how it turned a light yellow-green. The instructor "promised," that it would look "completely different," once it was fired in the the kiln. I placed it on the shelf to be fired that night, and took one last look before I left. I just remember thinking, "This will never be the colors I wanted."
A few days went by and we returned to the workshop where the piece was sitting on a shelf. I didn't recognize it! It was better than I had hoped, and I just remember how happy I was.
"I told you it would be the colors you wanted," the instructor reminded.
At the end of the summer, I gave the pot to my mother, who then planted the first of many plants that would grow from the pot. It initially hung in a macrame holder, and later, sat on the top of a bookcase. A few years ago I noticed it on my sister's patio one weekend while I was house-sitting for her, and I brought it home with me. I remember laughing when my sister said, "You took my plant!"
My response, "Well, you have my pot!"
Just one of those family moments where you just have to laugh.
Over the last few years it has begun to develop a crack in it. I suppose, like all things, it also is aging.
For me, it is representative of a childhood memory, but it also is a vessel of great worth. It holds memories of that summer, the years it has gone from one person to the next, and the seasons of plants it has held.
Christ reminds us to "remember" when we lift bread and drink from the cup. We are invited to take and hold that which is known to us, and to allow us to see it become something more.
We are also like this. We are vessels, being held by God, where we are lifted up as signs of hope for others. We are invited to share what we carry with others, as well as, protect sacred trusts. Being that vessel for others, reminds us that our life, is unique with it's own sorrows and joys.
Each of us are vessels, uniquely created. We become vessels that listen in silence to truth, as we speak in trust with friends about the ways that we want to grow. As vessels, we follow freely and courageously God's calling and remain faithful on the path that is ours.
In many ways, we are invited to be vessels, that when emptied to the bottom, are once again ready to be filled over and over.
I'm so thankful that we are vessels who remain in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.