Saturday, January 31, 2009


I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My lover is knocking: "Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night." ~Song of Solomon 5:2

Potters know what all lovers know, the sacred art of opening. Once clay is centered on a potter’s wheel it is still just a lump of clay, waiting the next stage of formation. The second movement of clay involves the potter’s hands, specifically his thumbs, placed upon the center of the lump, pressing down, digging into heart of clay towards the base. Once the potter has dug into the heart of the clay to open a well, the clay is then stretched out from the center, spreading open the clay, making room for growth. By the time the clay has been opened, the lump looks like a donut sitting on a clay base.

What has opened up your life to spiritual growth? Who do you allow to dig down into your core of your life? What life experiences have stretched you to become more open, allowing space within your life for spiritual growth? In my experience with people, it is often the presence of unasked for pain, suffering or loss that opens people up to make space for inner growth.

Odd. The thing that most defines a clay pot is not clay but the empty space. There is a via negativia in pottery, an upside down truth in this second movement of spiritual formation. The centering of the clay prepares for opening. The opening of the clay creates negative space allowing it to become a place of beauty and usefulness. When we make space for spiritual formation, we allow the negative forces as well as the positive forces in our life to open us, stretch us and help us to grow.

The ancient love song above sings of the great movement of the human heart, to open to another out of love. God, our bridegroom knocks on the door of our heart. We are invited to open our hearts. We gain greater capacity to love, to risk and to trust. We make space for God within our inmost being. We make space for others to love and be loved.

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