I have always been drawn to the piyut or poem that is recited during Kol Nidre night on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.
As Clay in the Hand of the Potter
As clay in the hand of the potter:
At his will, he expands or contracts it.
So are we in Your hands, Loving Creator.
Your covenant recall, and ignore our weakness.
The author speaks to the intimate relationship between maker and material and asks our Creator to overlook our imperfections.
When I first read this piyut, I felt it meant that we seek to be totally molded by the will of God, having little say in the final product. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that is not the way of clay or of any of the other materials mentioned later in the piyut.
When you work with a material, you must keep in mind the nature of the material. Clay is well suited for some things but not for others. It is foolish to try to mold it in a way that it won’t go. So it is with us, like the raw materials in the piyut, each of us has specific qualities that make us excel at some tasks but not at others. We shouldn't be hard on ourselves about our shortcomings but rather we should pray that out of each of our lives, God gives us guidance in creating something beautiful and useful, utilizing the best of our abilities.
May all sentient beings know happiness and the root of happiness.
SHANA TOVA !