Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Hebrews 3:12-14 (NIV)
After my last enameling class, all I had to show for my efforts was two messed up bowls. Both had some serious defects. On one I used Copenhagen blue on its back. For some reason, probably because I didn’t apply the liquid clear fire properly, the enamel did not completely cover the back leaving irregular patches of copper showing through the color. It looked like it had leprosy. The second, with evergreen enameled on its back started out well. In fact, it was an almost perfect covering of color. Then, taking it from the kiln, my instructor dropped it and put a huge dent in its side. After she straightened it, I refired it and that’s when the problems got worse. After firing, pieces of enamel began popping off like popcorn in the microwave. Shards of enamel flew around the room pinging and bouncing off the walls and floor. It was terribly embarrassing! So, when yesterday’s class rolled around, I was tempted to throw both pieces in the trash and cut class. Instead, I went and announced to the group that I had decided to embrace my errors. They looked at me like I had two heads. I decided to do my best to salvage what I could and live with the mistakes I could not change. After consulting with my instructor, I gave the pieces a second try. At first, the green bowl kept shedding enamel after firing. Finally, though cracked and black instead of green, it stabilized and I finished the inside. While the heliotrope dolphin looks pregnant, I quit while I was ahead. The blue dish is the one you saw yesterday with the moon and stars. I pulled it out of the kiln just as class ended. After four weeks of lessons, I have three bowls to show for all my work. There is one more session, but I may not go. Or I might, I haven’t decided yet. There is always a chance that if I start something new, it will just mean more messes to clean up. I either put the enamel on too thick or two thin, let it dry too long or not long enough. Instead of beating myself up for my failings, I am resigned to live with them. I am teaching a parenting class to a group of moms at church. I tell them it is a “do as I say” class and not a “do as I did” class. As we talk about parenting methods and our role as moms, I am rehashing some of my mistakes as a mom. I made some doozies and it is embarrassing to admit them, but I feel like I need to be real and honest with the group. So, I am embracing my errors with them as well as in the studio. I’m not perfect, nor ever will be on this earth. Still, I am confident in one thing. God can and has taken my mistakes and turned them into something beautiful.