I pick up our carpool buddies (Sandy, the mom, and her 3rd grader at JB, Sean) and we head over to the school. After we high-five the boys good-bye, Sandy and I make our way into the school, signing in with pens topped with plastic sunflowers. (These flowers are the school's symbol: "Look to God as a sunflower looks to the sun for life")
Making our way to the art therapy room, we are surrounded by organized drawers labeled with supplies, weaving looms and paintings, framed pieces of childrens' art work. My heart does a little leap with excitement: free time to make something? Yes please!
As we find our seats, take of our jackets and sip on our coffee, other moms begin coming in. I am introduced to everyone--most moms have been coming here for years, and obviously, get something much needed from the time. I smile at them. They do their best to smile back.
As we begin, our facilitator (who is also Isaac's art teacher) reads a meditation from a book. We start with piles of clay on some fabric. As she reads, and soothing, instrumental music plays in the background, she tells us to close our eyes.
I use this time to pray. I'm not sure what the others do, or even if this what what we were instructed to do...but in my experience, when I have quiet time, I use it to talk to God. Plain and simple. It's the best use of the moment.
I begin to make something from the clay, but we are encouraged to keep our eyes closed. Using our hands only, we shape the cold, moist ball into something...anything...
At the end of the session, we open our eyes to see what we've made. Some of us have abstract, tree-like vertical creations. Some have flat, pancake-like stepping stones. Mine? A bowl, with a spout on the side.
We talk about what it's like being moms. Not just moms, but moms with children who have special needs. I listen more than talk, because honestly, my problems seems small in comparison to the hurt, the frustration, and the pain that these women brought into the art room this morning. One mom, Kelly, rubs her teary eyes while sitting in her sweat pants and hair in a bandana..."It just couldn't be a worse time for a divorce...Grayson is in 6th grade and needs a dad...how can I do this alone?" Another mom, Anne Marie..."We had to tell our son he had Aspergers years ago when he was suicidal, he was so young...I wanted him to understand why he is the way he is..." I am flabbergasted. I am humbled, and I'm looking at my clay bowl on the table in front of me.
I was reminded of the scripture verse, from Isaiah 64:8: "But now, Oh Lord, we are the clay, and you are our potter. We are all the work of your hand."
When the potter works the clay, he wets it down, forms it gently, and never takes His hands from his creation. Sometimes, if he isn't satisfied with the work, he will fold it up and start again. This isn't easy, and it isn't quick. It applies to us as moms, and to our children. They were made by the potter's hand, and so were we. He never takes his hand from us.
As I shared this thought with the other moms, I felt vulnerable...like I had said something weak or irrelevant. But in response, there were muffled sniffs, tissues wiping eyes, and I could feel hearts soaking in the reminder: We aren't alone as long as we remember the potter.
I decided to have my sad little bowl that I made with my eyes closed fired. It's not pretty, and it's not perfect, but isn't that the point? We are made perfect through the fire...and when I see that little bowl when the times are frustrating, or when I feel like I can't make it through the day, I will remember...
I'm still just made out of clay.