Ever since I found my love of photography, I’ve wanted to create some portraits of my Grandpa. For myself and many others this farmer & preacher has been the living symbol of unconditional love and inspired wisdom. I find myself painfully inadequate to write about him – my words could never do justice (you’ll just have to meet him yourself). Of his character, I’ll simply say this: perpetually compassionate, ever faithful, a teacher, a worker, a pacifist, an optimist.
When I start a project or do a photo shoot, I am always so anxious to get to the point of final presentation. I just can’t wait to take whatever I’m working on and hold it up to the world and say “Check this out!” I figured everybody was this way, but I see something different in my Dad.
Dad’s creative expression is pottery. He started doing it while he was in college, and he has picked it back up here in the past decade. His purpose isn’t to have a finished work of art, but to have the experience of making it. I think he gets most enjoyment out of starting with a formless lump of clay, turning it on a wheel and creating a form out of nothing. For a pastor (or any Christian), the metaphor goes so deep – from the beliefs of creationism, to the idea of the guiding hand of a loving God molding us into the people we should be. I think for Dad, spinning a pot is one way that he meditates – like a personal devotion time.
Dad’s pots, jars, mugs, etc have wonderful shape and texture, but when you look closely you may see some rough edges. I used to think, “Why doesn’t he smooth those bumps out?” but now, that added character is part of why I love his work. And doesn’t that make the metaphor complete – slightly flawed; with the fingerprint of the Creator?
I once suggested to him that he try to sell some of his pots and make a nice little profit (his house is FULL of these pots, and he gives them away like candy). But he shrugged it off and said, “Nah… I just like making them.” I guess if he started to sell them, it would change his purpose.
“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)