Carpe Argillum

Wednesday, July 01, 2020 - By: Peggy Elmes

All I ever talk about is pottery as you all know, and today will not be any different. Today I want you to think about the lessons that clay can teach us. We often talk about the importance of resilience - the ability to come back and even thrive after going through a journey of tough times and difficult circumstances.

Let’s look at clay as an example of resilience. Clay starts out at the top of a mountain as a rock. It is strong, gets a great view, it is peaceful up there. What could possibly go wrong?

All the weathering and erosion begin and what was once a proud rock sitting on top of the world starts to slowly move down the mountain. It breaks down, it changes, and finally it ends up as a big puddle of mud - about as low as you can get. Then a potter comes along and digs it up. Great, a rescue!

Not so, things only get worse.
The potter takes it and slams it, squishes it, spins it around to form it and then once it looks right, even more insult. That poor piece of clay gets put into a kiln and goes through extreme heat for hours on end. Then, after all that, it has changed: it has become like rock again. It has become a piece of pottery, and what we all like about beautiful pieces of pottery, is that they serve.  
What makes Brentwood such a life-changing place is that everybody is part of an interconnected web of serving others. You experience it every day. Your parents serve your needs by providing you with an exceptional opportunity to be here and I thank them for the privilege of teaching their children.
Your teachers and leaders serve to ensure you have a great educational experience and everything else that goes along with Brentwood … which is pretty fabulous!
All of the nurses serve us by keeping us healthy in body and soul - and I thank them.

Student leaders serve by making sure you have a voice, and I thank them, especially all of the Pottery Captains through the years who helped make the studio the best place on campus … and kept me in line!
Houseparents serve by providing you with that anchor, that home away from home - and I thank them.
I thank all the office staff who keep us all organized. The service of all the people who take care of us in the dining hall, laundry and gardens plus the maintenance and cleaning crews have my utmost gratitude.
Students serve each other by being kind and inclusive and I thank them for looking out for each other.
So remember, while you are at Brentwood, and beyond, try to be resilient and take every opportunity to be like a beautiful piece of pottery.

Be like a beautiful piece of pottery and ask yourself, how can I serve?
Peggy Elmes

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