One of these stories is sticking out in my mind this morning (maybe because of this amazing commercial), so I’m going to poorly re-tell it from my memory. It feels a little bit like stealing, like I’m trying to sell you a fake Rolex on the street, but meh… I’m not above that.
One night, Grandma (you can read more about her here) was out and the boys were at home alone. Like every parent since forever, she had household rules-- like don’t throw balls in the house. But mom was gone. It was only natural when mom was gone to do exactly everything she ever told you not to do. Playing ball in the house it is! Of course it was the first thing that happened, the ball slipped, the lamp crashed, fear and panic took over. At this point in the story my dad would say something like, “SHE’S GONNA KILL US!” It always cracks me up that my dad, as a kid, lived in constant fear of my grandmother actually killing him. She was a fierce woman, that’s for sure, but I’m not sure she had a murderous streak in her little frame. Fearing that they might be actually murdered by their mother, my dad and uncle frantically got out the glue and started assembling the shattered lamp.
Now, I have no idea how long my grandmother was out that night, but my dad says they did it. They got all the pieces together, every little shard. I imagine glue oozing everywhere and sharp little pieces of lamp cutting their fingers. This was serious commitment on their part. When they were finished, there the lamp sat - back on the table, looking just as it should. They were off the hook. It worked. That lamp sat on that table for YEARS and Grandma never noticed. I wonder if they boys if they felt triumphant every time they passed through the living room. Ha! We actually got away with it!
One day she was dusting, and grabbed hold of the top of the lamp and it crumbled in her hands. Then she noticed all of the pieces and the globs of dried glue on the inside. I think enough time had passed, and she couldn’t believe they actually got all the pieces together, she laughed and shook her head.
How much of my life has been spent gluing pieces together frantically, so that no one will see my flaws? Always trying to keep it together … making all the pieces fit and still not getting it right. It looks pretty good on the outside, but the brokenness is still there.
Back in college, on of my favorite professors had broken pieces of a clay pot on a shelf in his office. He told me that when a clay pot is broken, it can be ground down to a powder and water can be added to make new clay. An entirely new creation can be made from the pieces of that broken pot. I don’t want to keep picking up the pieces and gluing them in place. I don’t want to be a fragile version myself, always protective of past hurts. I would rather go through the tough process of being made into a new creation. But that’s the difference… I can put the pieces back together… or I can be made into a new creation. Did you notice the difference? I can try and work and hope the glue holds, or I can depend on God to re-make me.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
I love the image of God as the pottter, always molding and shaping His creation. Baptismal waters keep that creation soft, pliable, ready to be shaped into anything. My prayer is that I will rely on those baptismal waters to keep my heart ready for God’s plans. I can rest, knowing that my Creator is continuing to create a new heart in me, and I can leave the bottle of glue behind.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-11