The Beauty in Distortion
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to attend my brother’s Masters of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition. The show was beautiful, inspiring and powerful. For over half of Cory’s life, he has been working with clay. I remember him coming home from his first ceramic class with a beautiful and simple pot. The year before I had taken the same class and my pot looked more like a blob than a vase. Needless to say, he had a gift…I did not.
So, for the last 15 or so years my family and I have watched his art mature, change, grow and develop. I have loved every minute of it and feel blessed to be a part of it. I even get to showcase a few pieces in my home. I could go on about how proud I am of my brother and his skills, but instead I want to share something he said in his presentation.
Cory has spent the last few years developing a technique where he places hand-colored paper-thin clay flowers, shapes and lines on top of a clay cylinder or tile. He then moves and molds the clay until it creates the vase, bowl, cup, or tile that he was imagining. The challenge of this technique is that the original stripes, flowers or spots change and move in a way that you don’t always expect them to.
It is a lot like life. We might expect our life to look one specific way all the time. Like myself, you might have plans for your future, thoughts of what your life might look like at one point or another, but more often than not our lives get stretched, challenged, pulled and distorted. Maybe you even feel like you are in that place right now.
When Cory was describing his work at the gallery exhibit, he talked about the excitement of seeing how a line of color might move. He spoke about the experiment that drove him to see how he could shape and mold color into something beautiful and the challenge that drove him to try new things.
In our lives, those experiences often feel like the opposite. How often those growing pains are the most difficult challenges that we go through. Sometimes it feels like the grief of losing someone we love hurts beyond what we can even imagine. Too often pain and suffering drive us to seek out any relief. More often than not, a move, challenging parenting moments, aging parents, new jobs and job loss feel like we are being pulled, pushed and molded into something that we didn’t really want to be when we started.
But, and this is a big BUT…those are often the moments that make you the beautiful piece of art that God made you to be. In my brother’s art, it is those swirls, distortions, stretches and twists that bring energy and life into his pieces. In fact, they are my favorite parts of his work.
I wonder if it is those very difficult moments that create hope in our own lives. Not because those moments are perfect or what we planned on but because it is in those moments that we are required to be fully in the hands of the One who is molding and shaping us. It means that we have to trust that the Maker is watching those parts of our lives and His hands are directly moving us to the place God wants us to go. I pray that wherever God is molding you, you are able to see the beauty of you in these very moments.