By Rosie Smith

Tucked away in an evergreen forest sat a small cottage. A chimney poked out through

the roof where puffs of smoke mingled with the cool air. In this humble home lived a friendly

old man, who was fondly known by the local village as – the Potter.

The Potter was no ordinary man. With silver hair and golden-brown eyes, he could do

something that no one else could. He could create incredible masterpieces out of clay that

would exceed the greatest imagination! This is the story of one such creation…

Just after dawn, as a golden glow filled the cottage, the Potter hummed as he walked to

his wooden workbench. There, a pile of brown clay sat – rough and untouched.

He took the clay in one hand and stroked his curly white beard with the other. There

was a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes as he thought;

“Ah yes” he said, “I know just the thing.”

He placed the clay gently on the bench and set to work. Picking up his tools, he carved

away small chunks of clay, smoothing the edges as he went.

Suddenly, the clay came to life under the warm touch of the Potter’s hands.

“Who…who are you?” the clay asked timidly.

“I am the Potter” smiled the Potter, “and you are the clay. You are the work of my


The Potter looked at the clay proudly as he smoothed her soft brown face.

“I am?” the clay asked. She paused for a moment, then added curiously,

“What’s my name?”

The Potter stopped his hands and held her up to his face.

“You are my work in progress” he said with a wink.

“Progress” repeated the clay, trying the sound of it on her lips, “I like that name.”

Minutes turned into hours and hours into days as Progress chatted to the Potter. All the

while the Potter worked, patiently answering her questions. Sometimes, Progress would stop

talking long enough to study the Potter’s face, admiring his wisdom and skill.

Until she saw the other clay vessels.

“What are they?” Progress asked one day.

glanced at the shelf behind him. He knew it was only a matter of time before

the question arose. After all, he had heard it many times before.

“They are my other clay vessels” replied the Potter calmly.

Progress said nothing more, but from that moment on, she began to notice that they

looked different to herself. In fact, she began to believe they looked better.

As the day wore on, the Potter noticed that Progress was quieter than usual. He knew

what was bothering her of course, so he thought of doing something to cheer her up.

The Potter took a new piece of clay and sculpted it into a half-moon shape. He then fastened

it to the clay’s side, smoothing the edges into an elegant curl.

“Ah ha!” the Potter said, “what do you think Progress?”

Progress examined her side, then avoided the Potter’s gaze.

“It’s um…it’s…different” she mumbled.

The Potter continued his steady gaze, then said quietly,

“What do you mean Progress? It’s perfect.”

Day by day, Progress began to grow more restless. She wondered why she couldn’t be

more like the other vessels. The Potter knew that Progress was unhappy with the way she was

made. With all his heart he wanted Progress to see the potential he saw.

Nevertheless, it was becoming very difficult to work on Progress. She would often

complain about the strange patterns she saw on herself, or try to rub them off when the Potter

wasn’t looking.

Soon, Progress couldn’t take it any longer.

“Why must I be made this way?” she moaned. “Why can’t I be small and round like the other vessels?”

Progress turned away, thinking that the Potter was being unfair. The Potter put down his

tools and let out a sigh. With weary steps he lowered himself into an armchair and gazed out

the window.

“Progress” he began, his tone loving but firm, “do you trust me?”

The clay was surprised, expecting a word of reproof instead of a question. She struggled

to find an answer – then said nothing.

The Potter waited, allowing the question to echo in the silence. Progress took a deep


“I want to” she admitted sadly, “I know you are the Potter, but sometimes…sometimes I

don’t understand what you’re doing.”

The Potter nodded. He walked over to the clay, gently picking her up in his hands. With

a deep, gentle voice, the Potter spoke:

“My child, trust is believing that everything I do is for your best.”

Deep down, Progress knew he was right.

“Progress” the Potter continued, “I can leave you as you are now, but if you can learn to

trust me, you will be far happier when I’m finished.”

The Potter’s eyes glowed with wonder, as if he saw something in Progress that Progress

couldn’t see.

“OK” she smiled weakly. “I believe you”

The Potter winked with a familiar twinkle in his eyes. Then he picked up his tools and

worked swiftly away, whistling as Progress waited…and trusted.

Another three days passed, when at last the Potter was finished. He saw what he had

made, and indeed it was very good. The Potter carried Progress to the drying rack and set her

proudly upon the shelf. The clay, now a beautiful vessel, looked up at the Potter in wonder.

“What am I?” she asked.

“You’re perfect” the Potter replied, “just perfect.”

The Potter stepped back and admired the work of art he had just finished; a beautiful vessel adorned with lovely patterns.

A handle was attached to her side and a graceful spout rose up on the other like the neck of a swan.

Progress was now a beautiful, unique teapot.

Her hand-crafted designs complimented the other clay tea cups on the shelf. For they were all fearfully and wonderfully made.


Bible Verses (NIV)

Isaiah 64:8

Yet You, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.

Genesis 1:31

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Psalm 139:14

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

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