When my father died two months ago, I found myself with an inexplainable need to order some craft books; I ordered three of them in fact: leather crafting, candle making, and soap making. I decided to start with soap making and I got on Amazon to order the supplies I needed. Then I suddenly lost my enthusiasm, feeling tired when getting home from work. Everything sat in a box.

Today, I decided it was time to get into that box and I really enjoyed it too…way more than I anticipated I would. Why? What is that enjoyable about making soap and what did those three crafts have in common? Well, for one thing the essential orange oil did smell very nice. It also felt good to know the ingredients of the cleansers that will eventually be on my skin and the skin of those I love. But, it was something more than those things. I think it was all about transformation and I think it is no coincidence that it was timed with my father’s passing.

Soap making is all about transformation. The lye interacts chemically with distilled water, and that mixture is added to olive oil which turns all of it from liquid to the beginnings of a solid state. While I was doing all this, I kept thinking about the process of transformation and how much I enjoy it. My songwriting hobby is all about transformation, usually starting with one chord and a sense of some kind of rhythm into, eventually, a complete song. Gardening gives me the same joy of transformation…So did making my own batch of beer, which I labeled Jackass before there really was a Jackass label.

Was this need to become more active in transformative hobbies tied to my father? I think so. You see, I have come to believe that the entire message of Jesus’ life was all about transformation- transforming from a physical awareness to a spiritual awareness and existence. It is complicated, but it makes perfect sense in my mind along with eliminating much of the negativity of my religion.

Living almost exactly on the imaginary 40 degree North Latitude line, we experience four distinct seasons every year. Surrounded by rivers, I can watch the salmon come back from their ocean journeys to lay their eggs and start a new transformation cycle. Evidence of transformation surrounds us when we bake a cake, raise children, or even make soap.

I know, I know, who thinks about these things because of making soap? That is what makes me weird, or wise…your choice!