Yesterday, I was still in the Art Class pits of plaster. I tried relentlessly and failed miserably to keep the classroom from looking like some kind of Narnia snow dusted dungeon. The students had transitioned from forming their artwork to covering it in the plaster coated mummy strips. Most of them, ok 99% of them, managed a good start on getting their balloon covered. The 1% who didn’t was, once again, my son. Everytime he picked his balloon up, the plaster strips slid off in one big clump. When another student asked him how in the world he got plaster on his face, I caved and rescued the monstrosity. I put a big piece of plaster on it that held that mess together like a top dollar flexstrip bandage. His eyes lit up beneath the plaster on his lids. I walked away with hope, regained my wits, and suggested he just take a zero for this one. But the boy is nothing if not determined. I looked in the drying closet after class and saw his pumpkin. It looked more like a ball of Swiss cheese that had been used for target practice. Well, at least he won’t get a zero.

The students were given sheets of the plaster powdered mesh with instructions to cut it into strips, dip it into water, and apply it to the balloon. The first slice goes swell… dip the strip (and fingertips) and there begins the sinking of the scissors. The wet fingers are covered with plaster, therefore transferring wet plaster to the scissors for the next strip. Oh… cut all the strips before you start? Yeah – but no, they didn’t. The substitute Art teacher didn’t really see through the plaster dust to catch that clever solution. So at the end of class we have plaster covered hands washing plaster covered scissors. Yeah – but no. At the end of the day I could barely recognize the scissors. It looked like some postmodern greco sculpture called “Lots of Red Scissors Covered in Plaster”.

I pride myself on not being a substandard sub. I know when I need to sing for my supper. Looking around the Art room at the end of Papier Mache day left me yodelling out some opera for a steak dinner. I sighed, filled the sink with hot soapy water, dumped the scissors in it and texted the Art teacher. She was fine with it. Of course she was. I grossly mismanaged the messiest Art lesson of the year, and she was fine with it..

The plaster covered scissors did give me something to think about. They were the tool necessary for cutting through the material. I’m thankful for the reminder that I have tools to manage messy material. Sometimes I’m the tool… sometimes it’s my role to slice through a mess. Maybe I’m helping a friend through a terrible situation. Maybe I’m carving out something difficult in my life. It’s not always smooth or easy. I come away covered in the mess. When you cut through, there will be gunk. You can wash it off right away, or you can let it sit and harden. Cleaning hardened gunk requires patience and maybe a little pain. It’s the difference between rinsing and scrubbing.

What are you cutting through right now? Is there residual gunk sticking to you? Rinse. Get in the Word. Get on your knees. Give it to God and walk away clean. If you’re soaking, be patient. Endure the scrub. Don’t let the gunk rob you of the glory of freedom from burdens and messes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s