Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
I’ve been making beautiful things to give as Christmas presents. In my zeal to wrap presents as I got them, I forgot to take any pictures of my creations. I will take some after the feeding frenzy is over. The first is tomorrow night at the in laws. Sadly, in the process of making beautiful things, I’ve also had my share of duds. For every lovely felted bag there is at least one wad of wool that oldest son labeled dryer lint. Along with several gorgeous pieces of glass art there is a growing pile of misshapen items that are not lovely and in fact, ugly. A month ago, I purchased a sheet of expensive, but unusual glass called Holly Berry. With green confetti that looked like leaves and bright red nuggets, it really does look like a Christmas wreath. I cannot explain what came over me when I saw this glass other than I was hypnotized because I would never ever dream of paying what I paid for that glass any other way. I planned to keep what I made from it justifying the expense as a Christmas gift to myself that would remain in the family for years to come. An heirloom for future generations. I carefully laid out the glass to shape a large bowl. Because it was so pretty on its own, I decided not to add another layer of glass. And that is where I made my mistake. When I slumped the round base for the bowl, I did not think to alter the firing schedule I normally use for two or three layers of glass. The piece was thin, slumped too quickly and then, shrunk into a lumpy foggy wart covered glob. The only thing I can think to do with it now is to crush it up and make jewelry out of it. Unfortunately, I did not know that the problem was caused by heating a single layer of glass too fast and too long. That realization finally dawned on me after I ruined a second project also made with one sheet. It was to be a blue bowl with starfish on it that took four firings. One for the blue base in order to soften the sharp edges. Another to shape the starfish and rocks. A third to tack the pattern to the base and finally, the slump phase during which it morphed into some oddly shaped bowl that looks like a measuring cup with no handle. I suppose I can make it into a part of a fountain for pouring water. I had such high hopes for those designs! Like my art, I often have high expectations for my life. Sometimes, I am disappointed. Then, I have a choice. Will I fret about what might have been? Or look for satisfaction in other ways? Because life will never be perfect but it can still be joyful. There’s beauty in the midst of the failures. Look closer and you’ll find it.