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at the potter's hand

From Growing Strong at Broken Places by Paula Ripple.


"Both my hands shaped this pot. And, the place where it actually forms is a place of tension between the pressure applied from the outside and the presure of the hand on the inside. That's the way my life has been. Sadness and death and misfortune and the love of friends and all the things that happened to me that I didn't even choose. All of the at influenced my life. But, there are things I believe in about myself, my faith in God and the love of some friends that worked on the insides of me. My life, like this pot, is the result of what happened on the outside and what was going on inside of me. Life, like this pot comes to be in places of tension. Life comes to be when we learn how to avoid looking for answers and finally learn how to ask the questions that will bring us to life."

Yesterday in Bible study we discussed the Exile and Post-exilic period of the Hebrew Bible. Of course you can't really discuss that without discussing Jeremiah, which our study spent 2 days on. Jeremiah uses a lot of pottery imagery and I am continually reminded of this quote. I'm not sure where I first came across it, but I haven't actually read the book yet. I do that all of the time, find interesting things and never read the whole story.

Sometimes we let ourselves be affected by just the things going outside, which destroys the pot crushing it inward. Sometimes we concentrate so much on the inside that the pot looses shape completely. Thankfully we have the opportunity to start again and let the potter shape our lives. We have the opportunity to let the fine balance between what is happening inside and what is happening outside shape who we are. There are sometimes flaws, but they can be fixed before the pot is fired.

I'm still working through the difference between asking questions and looking for answers. Asking the questions is really all we need but sometimes we become so obsessed with needing answers that we let life pass us by.
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