Jars of Clay

I went to church tonight as I am want to do on occasion, yes Friday night anyway that is for another time.  the speaker was talking about the future and my mind flicked over to a poem I wrote, one of the first that I wrote, it is called Jars of Clay

Jars of Clay

Lumps of dirt,
sweated from the ground.
Pounded and minced.
Sticky, soft, and oozy.
Thrown onto the wheel,
like some ancient medieval torture.
Round and round,
like my mind,
as thought takes place.
What shape or size,
what lies beyond?
The question answered,
by the clay from the earth
and from my heart.
Rising and whispering,
form or function.
The work of my hand,
and heart.
Moulding, shaping,
emerging out of insignificance.
Feeling and knowing,
whispering again.
Like clay, my thoughts, slippery.
Unable to be pinned down into time or place,
tomorrow, yesterday, today,
blend and merge.
Form or function,
design or chance.
Like clay my thoughts,
they dry.
Waiting for the fire.
Will they stand the heat?
Will they ring true and not crack?
Clay like my thoughts,
brittle and broken,
soft and shapeable.
Broken down,
to be used again .
Rebuilt and renewed.
Thoughts mined,
from life and love
Mixed with sadness and hope,
brokenness and healing.
Jars of clay.

This poem gave me some hope, and with hope came a vision for the future.  That vision has suffered some significant setbacks over the past few years, and with that has come a decreasing sense of hope.  My life has gone from big picture stuff to almost living from day to day.  I have lost sight of the future is my first thought but the reality is very different.  Right now my life is ruled by responsibility, and this is how it should be.  I am a parent and that is where it begins and ends.  Being a parent involves sadness, hope, brokenness and healing, sometimes all at the same time.  It can at times be a very difficult path to be responsible when the urge to break out and be selfish becomes almost beyond temptation.  But there it is my hope lies in my children, in their living their lives in an environment of freedom and hope, and in this right now I have to be fulfilled.

It is my humanness to seek fulfillment outside of this narrative, however it is my humanity that helps me to see my place in its context of my what is sometimes very messy life.  I crave at times for normality, partner, permanent job, a place where I can find fellowship and friendship but I live outside of the rules of normality, sometimes by choice and the consequences of doing so are sometimes isolation.  Ask any sole parent and they will most likely identify with what I have to say.  Society has at is heart a construct of parents as couples, friends as couples, recreation, social events as couples, anything outside of that is seen as an aberration and potentially dangerous.  Why am I surprised that the church is the same?

Why am I surprised that I live on the margins?  Naivety on my behalf driven by hope which relies on a super positive view of this world that I live in.  I only need to look around to see that such hope really is misplaced for so many reasons and as I have said before the church only ever reflects the community which is full of imperfect people like me with thoughts which are Jars of Clay.

My hope can never rely on what is in this world, to do so will mean that I am forever disappointed, I know who I am and that it is unlikely that I will ever fit into church in a way that is conventional unless I am willing to compromise who I am and what I believe.  Some of who I am is worthwhile and worth celebrating, some of me is just brokenness and some of me I just don’t understand, a good man I may not be but a good dad well I do the best iIcan and that is enough to keep my spark of hope alive.  Where there is hope there is life.




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