We say good byes in so many ways. Here are photos of the sky taken from my seat in the plane. We are flying back after our trip. . . We have the scene at the airport, laden with our luggage, with all that somehow always weigh us down, what is material, what is temporal. . . . .
This morning, I am still thinking of the young man who died while trying to fly a plane alone. What must have been the last moments when he panicked and realised that he was no longer in control of the machine he was trying to fly in the sky? What about so many others in the hospitals and elsewhere as death seizes each one, some totally unprepared, others slipping out quietly?
On this day, death does seem like a threat but it must not be so. It can come at any moment. That moment must be one of glory as one returns home to the Father of us all, our Creator God. I am thinking of some last things as someone sought to get a will made. Do we really have control? None. By the grace of God, every new day is a gift. . . let my reflection end here as I embark on this gift of life. Today in our community we share on the gift of our Blessed Mother Mary and the Saints. Glorious is the thought of heaven and the heavenly hosts of angels with the whole company of saints praising God for all eternity. Yes, hope springs eternal in the human heart. Praise God!
Now this is where I found all the beautiful Chinese ladies. . . and lots more. When we arrived, it was close to the time for the gates to be shut. But the guard was so gracious. He knew that we were tourists and that we just needed a few minutes to see the more important sections. So we did. . . and I loved the sculptures, the works of art from the Tang Dynasty. . . and lots more.
Walking around in the limited time, I thought of my art teacher. He had a couple of Tang Dynasty horses made of clay. . . of course, they were just copies. But I could now recall those years when he would talk so fondly of Chinese painting and works of Art. He was someone my friends and I looked up to. . . a gifted artist. Equally knowledgeable about Western Art, we would spend lots of time listening to him. At the same time we tried to learn some techniques. Today many of us still remember this art Teacher of ours. Art is such a marvellous gift. Thank and praise God!
Clay. Touch it. Feel it. Smell it. Put it close to your ears. Stare hard with your eyes. Perhaps you like the touch. You may enjoy the smooth clay after it has been rid of all stones and other nitty gritty stuff that are useless.
Yes, I have had a hand at making pottery and I have to confess that I was not too successful. It was not easy, for one. To make pots one has to be very patient for the processes are long and tedious. One has to get rid of all that is unwanted from the clay. The clay has to be prepared well.
Then comes the other things to consider: the design, the function, the size, the colours. . . This is not the end, for sure. The hands of the potter, caressing the clay with love, are then put into action. . . to mould, to shape. . . What will it be?
When all that is done, it is time to leave the half finished product on the shelf. Biscuit firing. Glaze with colours. Firing one more time…. and then, the completed result.
For me it is hard to tell what will emerge when I go to the kiln to remove my handiwork. There have been times when pieces not properly packed have got broken as well. The anticipation of opening the kiln to see the finished works is high and it can even be a little stressful. Think of the entire long process. . .
But this is only human. Think now of the Master Potter who created each one of us. Do you think He made mistakes? If not, why do we not appreciate our looks? Why do we need to seek the approval of the world? Why be a slave to advertisements? Well, these are just questions and to each one, we can all give different answers. What will yours be? Psalm 139 might be a good place to find the answer!
The scenery is one of its kind. . . so these views are precious. The place is also very peaceful and quiet. Few tourists were around when we were there that afternoon. History lessons came to mind. . . the many lives that perished just trying to build the Great Wall. Can we keep our enemies out at all? It would be better to tear down walls and to make room for friendship, and in so many ways we were able to do that. Such surprises! I have at least made many new friends, and that is truly a blessing…and I am certain I have left many in the churches I have visited as well. More than friends, most of them are my brothers and sisters in Christ.