making a vase with wheel thrown pottery

Wheel Thrown Pottery: A Parable

Once upon a time in a quaint town lived a young, eager man named Parker.

An ardent believer in his capabilities, Parker decided to attend a pottery class alongside his loving mother. Intrigued by the art he’d only ever seen in movies, he thought he already had the knowledge he needed.

When the class commenced, the pottery master began by explaining the minute details about the clay – its molecular structure, the types of clay, and so forth.

Parker, overconfident and impatient, found this tedious. He longed to get his hands on the clay, sculpting it into intricate designs he envisioned.

Three weeks passed before the pottery master finally handed each student a block of clay.

Parker was exuberant.

He’d been waiting for this moment, to prove his presumed skills.

Watching the master carefully, he noted how he threw the clay onto the wheel and formed it into a vase with just a few deft movements.

This was all Parker needed to see, he thought. Full of self-assuredness, he walked away before the demonstration concluded, convinced he’d mastered the skill.

two people working together to make a vase with clay on a wheel

After a good thirty minutes of trying, Parker’s pottery wheel was spinning in full force, but the clay was anything but the work of art he’d expected.

It wobbled and waned, creating an unbalanced and irregular lump rather than the graceful vase he’d imagined.

Realizing he needed help, he swallowed his pride and asked the pottery master for guidance.

The pottery master smiled, having encountered such a student before.

He told Parker to step away from the wheel, explaining, “Parker, your problem lies in your elbow positioning. Think of it like a record player arm. It needs to be sturdy, unwavering, providing a strong force for the clay to shape against. You’re moving like a washing machine, accommodating the imbalance rather than correcting it. Firm up one elbow to form a solid exterior, and use the other for the inner detailing.”

This insight was a revelation to Parker, transforming his approach and outcome.

He understood that stability and balance were key to crafting pottery, a lesson that carried over into his understanding of relationships, particularly in marriage.

Lazarus Lectures

In any relationship, Parker reasoned, there should be someone holding a sturdy edge, like his elbow to the pottery.

This person offers stability, helping the relationship maintain its balance. It isn’t a question of superiority but rather of fulfilling different roles for the betterment of the whole.

Just as he’d learned in his pottery class, without a steady and firm exterior, the clay – or relationship – would become imbalanced and wobbly, possibly spinning out of control.

Parker grew in his understanding that guidance and revelation were paramount, but also, one should not claim to know all the principles and answers firmly.

Just as his pottery master taught him, seeking the right methods, understanding, and wisdom is a constant process – one that requires humility, willingness to learn, and dedication.

As the pottery class drew to a close, Parker thanked the master, acknowledging that the pottery class had taught him far more than how to mold clay.

He had learned vital lessons about humility, patience, balance, and the pursuit of wisdom. These lessons profoundly affected his approach to life, transforming him from a young, eager, and overconfident man into a more understanding, empathetic, and wise individual.

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