About 5 minutes into my playing with the clay, I achieved a really good product for me and my lack of skill. It was a kind of vase that had a bottom rim (is that what you call it?) and a curved body with a rim on the top. It was quite beautiful. It had one obvious flaw in the top rim. Not awful. It would have been fine that way. A definite sign I'd made it. But still showing off a big accomplishment for me. Part of me wanted to see if I could fix the imperfection, even if I didn't really know how to. But deep down I knew I should just leave it be.
Well, I didn't leave it be. And I not only ended up ruining my beautiful vase, but eventually had messed up the clay so much that I couldn't get anything to come out. (The teacher offered to make me something, so I know it wasn't useless, it was just useless in my hands.) The whole thing was actually a little heart-breaking, because I would have liked something to show for the work I did. Especially as the last time I'd done pottery there (6 years previous), my creation was taken by another family member because I couldn't convey it home. It was never fired, and soon crumbled and cracked before I could take care of it. So now I have nothing to show for 2 different times of attempts. :-(
Now, what is the analogy? I take a few small things from it.
*Once in an Institute class, a student said, "If you don't know how it broke, don't try to fix it." Since I didn't know how I had created the flaw in my pot, of course I had no idea how to fix it. That and lack of skill and experience. Frequently in life we'll reach a point where our knowledge is not enough to know how to fix something, or to know what choice to make or what direction to go. We need the help of someone who does know. And the Savior will always know.
*Sometimes we keep making mistakes or wrongs till we get to a point where we feel we are useless. We have no ability to shape ourselves into anything useful or beautiful. But the Lord can always make something of us no matter how bruised, battered, worn, or used we have been.
*Our bodies have been created by a master builder. We are beautiful pieces of art, but none of us is perfect. We all have a flaw here or there. And yet our value is not diminished. The Lord was pleased with how we were created, and didn't feel He needed to do anything to "fix" us. Because we were just as we should be. So we too should be contented in how we were made. Of course, that doesn't mean that we don't make any improvements on ourselves. A pottery piece could be fired--made stronger and sturdier. The piece could then be painted--give color and variety. It can be used for the purpose it was created and made more useful and valuable because of this.