Tuesday, November 1, 2011
God In The Details
I love the design of this cross. It is simple with an understated elegance. I love the weight of it, the thickness. Even the shape is appealing. It doesn't look too complicated. Should be a fairly easy piece to make, right? This cross and I have been through a lot.
Having no straight edges, filing and sanding in the greenware state was very tricky. It is a difficult piece to hold and support while refining the details. And, the texture as I sanded was something I had not experienced before. It's hard to explain. The feel of it under my fingertips is magnificent. I didn't want to stop touching it. And, I could see the silver sparkling through as I worked.
Holding it gently and sanding with the last and finest grain sandpaper, I snapped the cross in two at the delicate center. Disgusted, and berating myself for mishandling this piece, I set about making repairs. I carefully reattached the cross, perfectly aligning the break, added additional spackling for support, then set it aside to dry. When the clay was ready, I very gently began sanding away the excess and getting the cross back to its beautiful refined state. I was really excited, you couldn't even see the break. I worked another hour, getting it just perfect. Then, proceeded to snap the cross in two at the exact same spot!
Deep breath! Gently I laid the two fractured pieces on the table. Then, got up and walked out of the room. I need a break, literally! I went back in later that evening, repaired the two pieces, and left it overnight to dry.
Two days later, I decided to try again. "Ok, be carefully!", I said aloud. I was very careful, holding it as if it was the most delicate thing I had ever touched. Even with all the frustration of the breaks and repairs, there was so much pleasure in working on this cross. When the nerve endings in your fingertips sing with pleasure at the touch of something, you don't want to stop touching it. I did not want to put this cross down. I sanded and carved, brushed it off gently. Changed emory paper and sanded some more. I studied it carefully, looking for any unwanted mark I'd missed, diligently working to remove the scarring and repairs. One more spot. Gently...just a tiny bit more. Snap! Unbelievable! What is wrong with me? How can I get that close to completion and break it AGAIN? It was almost perfect!!!
I guess, there in lies the problem.
The fifth time I repaired the cross....yes, I snapped it in two four times....and, no I was not giving up! God began to speak to me about this cross. 'This cross is not meant to be perfect.' What hung on the cross so many years ago was perfect. Is perfect! I am not perfect. What Christ took to the cross was all the sins and imperfections I had and ever will have. This cross is a little crooked. I'm a lot crooked. It has fractured pieces, so do I. It has rough places that need refining. I have many places that need refining.
'Leave the cross imperfect!' I smiled....understanding and peace. A lesson....or a reminder in the making of this cross. God in the details. I sanded away some of the rougher edges, then placed the cross in the kiln to be fired.
It came out beautiful. A little crooked...a few scars...and a beautiful smooth texture I love to touch. It's me, I thought. Crooked. Scarred. And, a few beautifully smooth places that are really Christ reflected in me. Those are the places I love to touch. It is perfectly imperfect, and where I want to be....with God in my details.