My Friends I am sure that at some point
during your service to enhance the cultural arts here
in Miami Dade County THAT there were times you felt like
you had been put through the fire. And then you look back
and wonder how did you endure?
am sure that in many instances your endurance was reluctant
and that you've come this far in spite of yourselves.
That is one of the reasons I want to share this sage
African account about reluctant endurance, a story that
certainly could be true for many of us here striving to
make Miami Dade County the CULTURAL ARTS CAPITAL OF THE
WORLD. THE Story is about a man, much like Rick Sisser,
who uses understanding and appreciation of the arts to
seek out the best in our community. Like RICK, the man
in our story loves antiques, pottery, and other forms
of fine art - especially VASES. One day at one of the
stalls in the village marketplace he came upon a beautiful
He said, to the owner, "May I have a look? I've
never seen a VASE quite so beautiful" As the owner
handed it to him, suddenly the VASE spoke, "You don't
understand," the VASE said. "I haven't always
been a vase. There was a time when I was only a red piece
of clay. My master took the clay, rolled me and patted
me over and over and I yelled out, let me alone, but he
only smiled, and said "Not yet."
Then I was placed on a spinning wheel "the VASE
said, "and suddenly I was spun around and around
and around. I shouted Stop it! I'm getting dizzy! But
the master only nodded and said, "Not yet."
"Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat
I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and l yelled and
knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening
and I could read his lips as he shook his head and said
"Not Yet." Finally the door opened, he put me
on the shelf, and I began to cool. "There, that's
better," I said and then he began brushing and painting
me all over. The fumes were horrible.
I thought I would gag. "Stop it. Stop it!"
I cried. He only nodded and said 'Not Yet." Then
suddenly he put me back intto the oven, not like the first
one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffocate.
I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time
I could see him through the opening nodding his head and
saying, "Not yet."
"Then I knew there wasn't any hope. I would never
make it. I was ready, to give up. But the door opened
and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour
later he handed me a mirror and said, "Look at yourself.
And I did. And when I saw the image in the mirror I said,
"That's not me. I couldn't be that beautiful. "
The Potter said, "I want you to remember the hurt
that occurred when I rollwed and patted you and know that
if I had left you alone, you would have dried up.
I know I made you dizzy when I spun you around on the
wheel but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled.
I knew it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the oven,
but I fI hadn't put you there, you would have cracked.
I know the fumes were bad when I brushed you and painted
you all over, but if I had not done that, you never would
have hardened; and you never would have had any color
in your life.
And if I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you
would not have survived for long because the hardness
would not have held. Now you are a finished produtc. You
are what I had in mind when I first began with you."
Each in their own heart, each in their own way - LET
ALMIGHTY POTTER, we thank YOU for the trials and tribulations
we encounter working to impact positively on the cultural
life of our community, help us to know that our difficulties
are not designed to make us bitter but to make us better.
Thank YOU for the patting, the spinning, the disagreeable
heat of insufficient funding, the constant need to convince
varying governmental entities that our cause is right
and just - for we know that our disappointments, our difficulties,
and our frustrations are well worth our efforts.
There is absolutely NO doubt about it. So, we pause to
thank YOU for every burden that we may have had to bear
and every difficulty that we may have had to face.
From behind the altar of eternity we hear the sweet golden
voice of THE CREATOR OF ALL ARTISTIC DESIGN saying to