I measure my life in vessels.  They trace the contours of my days.  Teacup, bowl, oil lamp, pitcher, baptismal font, Communion chalice, basin, bathtub.   I sleep in the belly of night and wake under a downturned bowl of blue. I ponder their shapes as I begin to understand my own longing: wanting to be held, fighting against being contained.Teach me, I say.  Tea, food, oil, water, wine, stars, sky.  Teach me how to gracefully, powerfully fill my space.from Jan Richardson’s Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas

Below is a bowl I designed with mosaic several years ago.  The glass form was originally an old punch bowl left lying by the dumpster.  I had been looking for a large ritual bowl I could decorate and this one was perfect: wide and somewhat shallow, creating an inviting space within.  I loved resurrecting something that had been discarded.  I usually bring it out around this time of year because the design speaks to me of the beauty of darkness and the signs to be found in stars. 

I would add womb-space to Richardson’s list, that vessel-space deep within us, whether male or female, that holds the seeds of new life coming to birth.

What are the vessels of your life?  What do you want to make space to hold? 

-Christine Valters Paintner

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