Friday, March 23, 2007


White Robe

I've been thinking about purpose. Lu's story kind of connected with some other things. What really got me going, though, was my effort at cataloging sand sculptures from 2002.

The year started fairly normally. Well, sand sculpture is never really normal but the first half of the year didn't bring any major deviations. In July, however, I was hired to lead a team of people from a company called Continental Development in making a sculpture for the "Heal the Bay" sand sculpture contest. My equipment is designed to support sculptures smaller than most would use at a contest, so I made two. If you can't make big, make more. We won the contest, and the next year Heal the Bay put in a "no ringers" clause: everyone working on the sculpture had to be an employee. The sculptures suffered.

Anyway, this experience rekindled my interest in the multiple sculpture, the first of which I'd done in 1996 for the World Championships. I did one more for a contest in Santa Cruze and then left the idea alone. One sculpture is a lot of work. Two is nearly impossible.

Then conditions changed. I experimented with using coarser sand, which meant I didn't have to haul it from the low-tide line. This worked pretty well, so I used the energy for making more sculptures in a variety of settings. My main memory of this period, looking back at the end of the year, was of failure. None of the sculptures was really what I'd wanted it to be. Too many compromises. I compared the desire with the actuality and the latter fell far short.

I emailed the images to people and then mostly forgot them. Images stored on an an off-line hard drive aren't of much use. On a post-sculptural Sunday a while back I started looking for 2002 images and found them. It was a pretty easy step from there to get them onto Photobucket and into Blog pages. Wonder of wonders, 4 years of separation allowed the sculptures to speak for themslves, out from under memory and expectation. None of them is ugly and some are pretty good.

So, Lu is all twisted into a knot over the Big Purpose she thinks she should have. The thought has been at the back of my mind, too. I'm a follower of Jesus. If now isn't the time for big purposes, it will come eventually. When? And what will it be? There's not much I can do about it right now, but some time.

I asked God about this. It was hard to do so because the first thing that comes to my mind when I approach God is failure. He's going to point out all the things I've done wrong already. I've driven myself nearly crazy this way, coming and going like a newborn kitten who thinks he should be independent enough to move away from his mother, but his eyes aren't open and he has no teeth. So, I get away from God's warmth and start to die. I turn back to life but then get very frightened of asking for too much and doing nothing with what I've been given already. It's no wonder the last couple of years have worn me to a frazzle. Back and forth, trembling.

Well, OK, let's just have it out. "God, what do you expect? How do you judge success? How have I failed?" Well, I didn't need to ask that. I knew I'd failed. Everywhere. "What is my purpose, and how do I know I've succeeded?" He very calmly showed me an image of a white robe. "OK. What's that all about? I know my failures are covered, but... what about success?" The same white robe.

In other words, success or failure, the answer is yes. Neither matters, so long as I let God hold my hand. The main thing in God's sight is our relationship.

Think about that for a minute. Frazzled people don't accomplish much. If I can quit worrying about failure maybe I can actually settle down and enjoy being chewed on. God has a very sunny outlook on the process of new growth, which years of dour teaching has managed to cloud over. I am well and truly sick, literally, of it. I need an alternative. As usual, the answer is to listen to God instead of the people who think they know Him.

:) no words just smiling as I read this bit of encouragement.
Hey Larry, I have been reading here since you started posting again a few days back. Just no comments. You know your words always inspire and encourage me...I am so glad to have more of them to read.

Thank you so very much for the comments you have left on my blog.

You're one special guy. I appreciate you.
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