“Life handed him a lemon,The Optimist as it appeared in a 1940 edition of The Rotarian
As Life sometimes will do.
His friends looked on in pity,
Assuming he was through.
They came upon him later,
Reclining in the shade
In calm contentment, drinking
A glass of lemonade.”
I have read the story of the potter in Jeremiah chapter 8 many times, as I do a “read through the Bible” program twice a year. While reading the story recently, I was taken back to my time in South Korea where I rented a small studio apartment in the heart of Yandeok, Pohang City. I had come to South Korea to introduce the Korean translation of my book Chasing Life: Lessons on Suffering Well, but unfortunately after only my first book signing and presentation, there was an outbreak of COVID-19 and my events were canceled for the duration of my time in Korea.
I found myself with a three-month visa and pretty much nothing to do. To my pleasant surprise, there was a pottery studio right next to my apartment building, and I immediately contacted the teacher to take her workshop for a couple of days. Pottery is something I had never done before but wanted to try, so I was elated that I was about to scratch that off of my wish list.
Studio Dall is a darling workshop decorated in minimalistic fashion with earth tones and handmade clay pots and plates. When you walk in, you get a sense of calmness and serenity regardless of the fact that hands-on molding, tapping, knitting, and stretching clay is going on behind a thin curtain for most of the days it is in operation. I came to the studio four weeks before departing for America, and was able to do four pieces. In all honesty, I thought I was only going to be able to do one or two, and so the fact that I left with four pieces was definitely a big win for me.
When I met Eunhee Choi Seonsaengnim (teacher), I felt an instant connection with her. While we worked on my pieces, she played The Beatles and 80’s music, and we would sing along together like good, old friends. Even though we only worked together for about four hours on two separate days, my time at Studio Dall was meaningful. Teacher Choi says that she hopes to make all pieces of pottery with each individual’s uniqueness and emotion. I definitely had many emotions going on at the time, and moments of deep reflection while molding the clay. The idea of having to fill my unexpected free time with activities such as this became a source of relaxation and empowerment for myself. As the saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
Consider this: What about turning a challenging situation into something inspiring? Have you thought of ways to use your free time? Have you done something fun or special for yourself lately?
Maybe it’s time to make some lemonade!
If you are ever in South Korea, and would like to make some pottery, I highly recommend Studio Dall (Moon Studio)
Studio Dall Instructor/Artist: Eunhee Choi Instagram: @studiodalll
Check out these beautiful pottery items made by students at Studio Dall: