The Shaping of Us
There is something fascinating about driftwood. It’s lighter than it should be, yet strong and durable. Weathered and aged, yet youthful and beautiful. It never fails to call my attention when it washes ashore. One small piece demanded picking up. It was a perfect miniature canoe, cigar-shaped and sized with a space hollowed near the center for a tiny mouse to paddle homeward. I set it in my hand where it perfectly balanced, as it would on a wave or on display on dry land.
I pocketed my treasure, well, I would have, if I’d had pockets. Instead, I tucked it into the waist band of my running shorts and promptly forgot about it. Until after I had sprinted up the mountainside in a rainforest downpour and the small canoe, drenched and darkened fell out upon the floor, undamaged, but for its folding.
Its folding. Softened by the rain and compressed for the journey, it was sorely misshapen. It still had the look of a canoe, but it listed badly and tipped when I tried to set it upright. It had been so perfect. Now, it was deformed. I felt responsible.
I know! I will soak the poor craft and re-shape it to its old form!
Sure enough. Water makes it supple and the hollow makes it pliable, but the hand that shapes, well that’s the rub. It needed molding and holding, but I was more bend and press. It requested patience and care, but I was more fold and prop. This treasure needed a loving hand to roll it and tamp it and stand by while it dried. My ingenuity and a friendly yellow straw were poor substitutes.
How grateful I am that the hand that is re-shaping me is not mine.
Why Invest in Something Temporary?
Why spend so much time and energy on something so temporary?
This was my thought as I strolled the beach past dozens of children who were completely satisfied to construct castles, sand piles, and forts. To write their names, dig out trenches, and fill moats only to have them washed away in an instant. Yet, as soon as the wave receded they began again. So why? …Why invest so much in something so temporary?
And I could ask of God the same…Why invest so much in us, something so temporary?
I look around at the incredible diversity in people. Shapes, sizes, colors, ages, races. And the Lord only knows how different they are on the insides. literally. No time – saving repeats there. And yet, we are but a whisper in the all of time. A moment and then washed away by the waves. Why invest so much in us?
I can’t even begin to know the mind of the Creator in this. But what is promised is that we are created in his image. Perhaps in the image of one who is always creating, constantly crafting, shaping and re-shaping. Perhaps as those children who seem perfectly content to begin again. The last masterpiece not lost, the components are all still there in front of them, waiting to take a new shape in their hands.
My difficulty I think is that I want to hold on. I want something that will last. Just as I want to “capture” the sunrise in a photo so I can share it with others and keep it forever. Children revel in the making. They love the motion of making, the texture of the raw materials. They are not invested in the product, just in the doing. They might look up if I pointed out the sunrise but then return to the business of busy.
Funny how busy has gotten such a bad rap among us adults. Perhaps if we were satisfied with the temporary, if we could find peace in the notion that whatever we “accomplished” was meant as raw material for the permanent ahead, we might even see our lives as absolutely worth the painstaking detail. Even in the face of a world which relentlessly asks, “What do you have to show for yourself?”
Perhaps ours is to discover our image in the Creator’s constancy, in the midst of our divine design under continuous assault by the waves of life. And He is as the child, patiently re-crafting. After all, even the wind and the waves obey Him. The work must be worth it to Him.