April 30, 2019
I have LOVED mud for as long as I can remember. I was blessed to grow up on a small hilly-farm in Maryland. There was a dirt road adjacent to one of our fields. This road contained a childhood treasure – a pothole the length of a small car. After a rainstorm, it was my go-to-place. I remember playing in this amazing, ankle deep mud puddle. The mud finding it’s way into every crease in my clothing, matting my hair, and packing firmly under my fingernails.
I could hear my mom calling from the house, telling me it was time to come home. My dad always seemed to know exactly how dirty I would be. As I walked back to the house, I would see him waving his hand high in the air and then pointing to the left. I would meet him down the bottom, where the barns and the animals were kept. He would say to me “Let me get you hosed off before your mother sees.” I would sheepishly smile so grateful that I was not in trouble.
Being a mom now, I am confidant that my mom knew exactly what I was up to. My dad was protecting me from the potential trouble that would come from dragging mud through the house. He washed me clean.
As an adult, my love for mud is the same. Now I use clay to make a living, serve the community and to be a blessing to others. When giving pottery field trips, I often joke with the children that I am still that same mud-puddle kid who never quite grew up.
Recently my family went to Colonial Williamsburg for long weekend. This trip had been long awaited but, due to some family issues and the a few stressful work months the trip was less planned than what it should have been. We had reservations, we knew how to get to the attraction but, did not really know what to expect. Imagine my surprise when I found out that they had a clay pit where they make their own clay bricks! I was elated to say the least!
Upon entering the brick making area, the brick makers welcomed us and invited us into the clay pit to help mix the clay. My children and I gladly accepted the invitation, took off our shoes and socks and began to step around the pit mixing the dirt and water into clay. I was in heaven! The malleable clay was dark tan in color, soft on our feet, and slightly gritty upon closer inspection. When our legs were getting tired of the heavy-stepping we exited the pit and made our way to the washing basins. One of my son’s handed me an empty water bottle and told me to fill it with the clay. The clay that was stuck to our feet and the clay that was stuck to the wooden washing basins was valuable. By chance, this clay didn’t make the cut. It was not chosen to be made into a brick. It was stuck to my feet, my children’s feet, or someone else’s feet and ended up as “trash.” I gathered that clay and took it with me. I washed myself clean. The clay sits on a pottery ware shelf waiting to be made into a beautiful piece of Williamsburg pottery.
Running a small business can be tricky. I am grateful for the love and support of my family and friends. Under The Horizon has been lovingly embraced by the community. Some days there is much more work than time. I try to find and maintain the precious balance between life and work. At a recent memorial service, I heard Pastor Lush explain, that sometimes we leak. I am filled with faith and I do my best to operate the studio on the basis of faith-in-action. The faith of my work not in my work. The story that God has so lovingly wrote on my heart so many year’s ago. But sometimes my faith leaks. I need rebuilt. My faith needs to be refreshed. I need to be washed clean.
On one such work day, one of my son’s noticed the stress. He was outside playing and experimenting with cardboard. He said to me, “Mom, take off your shoes and come out to the puddle.” He wanted to show me what he had learned. He has a huge heart and I knew he was trying to take care of me and protect me from the stress. I immediately said “No, I am so busy.” He acknowledged my statement and went on his way. I stopped in my tracks, realizing what was happening, and changed directions. I followed him out the door, took off my shoes, and stood in that fresh puddle. The puddle was in a pothole in studio’s black-topped drive way. It was not overly muddy, and the ankle-deep water was clear, cool, and refreshing.
I snapped a picture of my boy. Look at those eyes! I could feel the stress melt-away and I cannot help but tear up remembering this special time with him. He was loving on me, helping me, and even through he was not aware of it, he reminded me to be a kid again. He washed me clean.
Throughout my life, I have been washed repeatedly. Whether it was the car-sized mud puddle and the washing from my dad, the clay pit with the unwanted clay stuck to my feet which was washed by me or even the washing away of stress by my son. All washings were acts of love and guidance. Isn’t that what God does for us. Psalms 51:7 states “Cleanse me and I will be clean, wash me and I will be whiter than snow.” God doesn’t just wash us clean… He makes us brand new. His grace and love are immeasurable. I have been made new, refreshed, and my leaks once again repaired. I am better prepared to help prevent future leaks but I am grateful that my God loves me enough to recreate me once again.
Are you in need of a washing?