I made chalk this week………. Yes, I said chalk. Well, made in the sense of mixed up plaster of paris and put in a mold to make shaped chalk. Why? Because I can, that’s why.
I told a friend I was making chalk and she laughed at me. Now, this is not the first time she’s laughed at me, that’s for sure, and I doubt it will be the last either. Why on earth would I want to make chalk?
And again, I say, because I can.
I do not like that we just buy everything automatically. I know, I know, I bought the plaster of paris and the star-shaped ice-cube trays. But there’s something of my action, perhaps even a touch of my own creativity, in the finished project. It wasn’t that difficult to make, though it was more effort than just buying a box of chalk. Somehow, though, our society always defaults to–go buy it, get it the easiest and fastest way because quick, simple and path of least resistance is always the best choice.
And I disagree. A lot. There is a joy in making things for the sake of being able to say or even to just know in your own head that you made that item. A few years ago I was shopping with a friend in one of those large department stores at the mall (not the same friend as above) and she brought me a lovely lace shawl. It was black acrylic machine-made lace and it was pretty. ‘Look!’ she said, ‘it’s only ten dollars! And you spent way more than that on the yarn for that shawl you’re knitting. Like, four times as much. And you could have gotten one for only then dollars. Ha Ha!’ She’d missed the point altogether. Sure, I could purchase a shawl, a sweater, a scarf, a pair of gloves or mittens or whatever for less money and time than it takes for me to make them. It would make Christmas and birthdays a lot “easier”and “cheaper” but would that automatically make them better? No, I do not think that it would. In fact, I think it makes them less.
There is a satisfaction and sense of self I find in making things that I cannot find anywhere else. I believe that if we are made in God’s image (and we are) and he was the creator of the universe (and he is) and he made everything from daisies to giraffes, turtles to amethysts, babies to ladybugs, clouds to the roots of oak trees and everything else in between (and he does) then perhaps we are close to God when we make things, too. Einstein said that to bake a cake truly from scratch we must first create the universe. So maybe when we make things, as we use the things that God has made, we are close to him. Maybe he even works with us.
Now I have no hatred of machines. In fact, I find them fascinating and love to take them apart and put them back together again! What I do dislike is being given the answer for every need and want in the form of a pre-made, pre-packaged, easy-to-use item found on the shelf at Wal-Mart. So I reject that as being the only answer and, instead, put it among the options which include home-made, hand-made, self-designed, crafted and created.
Oh, and these little chalk stars will likely show up in a new prayer box…….because I also just got a can of blackboard paint, too!