Musicians, athletes, trades people, professionals in every field – what is common to them all, is the time, effort, self-sacrifice to hone their skill, their craft, their expertise. There is such pleasure in talking with an artisan who is fully invested in his/her specialty. Their investment shows in the quality of their work and the passion in their voice as they discuss why they do what they do. One craft Sue and I thoroughly enjoy seeing is pottery – from the rustic to the highly refined, from the unadorned to the intricately decorated, from the understated neutrals to the eye-popping brilliant hues of specialized glazes and innovative firing techniques. Most artisans we’ve spoken with are the most unassuming, gentle, approachable people you’ll ever meet. They all present the work of their hands with a joy and a deep sense of peace and fulfillment that are contagious. The long hours, the failed efforts, the setbacks, the many years plugging away patiently, doggedly, these are understood, but rarely voiced. It’s sobering to contemplate what led up to them doing what they are doing today. Skills learned. I once worked with a guy named Bill, a curmudgeonly jokester, an Eeyore, who would say: “Experience is the best teacher.” to which he would add: “It should be. It costs plenty!” Many things we value will cost us. In this season of growing awareness of our failure as the church to fulfill our role as Kingdom Ambassadors, there are skills being highlighted, skills which will take time, effort, and self-sacrifice to hone till they appear effortless, till they bring us a deep sense of peace and fulfillment. Wanna get some clay?