Beautiful Creation – Shawna MacKenzie

I’m sitting on the rooftop of our host home in San Pablito watching the sun rising over the mountains while I reflect on the past few days. It would be quiet except for a cacophony of roosters crowing, dogs barking, a symphony of birds singing, and our neighbor’s pig grunting. Today, on our last day in San Pablito, I am overwhelmed and grateful for this trip. I have learned so much about this place, these people, and their stories. Yet, I’ve also learned so much about my own story.

The crafter in me was hoping so much before we left to be able to see the amate paper making process that I’ve read so much about. Not only did I see it and learn about it this week, but I got to experience it for myself. I see my own story mirrored in the process. Before the paper can become a canvas for art, it must be harvested as bark from a tree. It is soaked and boiled for many hours, then manipulated into skeins that can be pulled apart to create strands for the paper. Next, the strands are placed in a grid and the artist must repeatedly pound the fibres with a rectangular volcanic rock shaped for the process. More bits are added and pounded until the fibers blend together creating a canvas for the artist to create his or her masterpiece. So it is with my spiritual journey. I started out as simple bark on a tree, selected, moulded (sometimes pounded) into something that is beautiful, not because of who I am, but because God the artist has made me so. I can no more turn myself into a finished piece of art than the bark on the tree can turn itself into paper. It is a process, not something to be rushed, but something to be added to bit by bit – fibre by fibre – until I am prepared to grow. The beauty can be seen only after it has been prepared by the Creator. The result is a beautiful story – joy and pain woven together to bring glory to God, my Creator.

Philippians 1:6 – being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.