Last night, after a session of meditative painting, I declared the above painting finished. Not because I thought it a great work of art but to save myself from fussing with it further. All week, I had been working on it, a little here, a little there. “It needs just a bit more orange here,” I’d think, and the next thing I knew it was again past my bedtime.
When I finally let go, I asked myself: why did you paint this image? And I discovered that I really didn’t know. Like most creative works, it evolved in the process of its birthing – yet there had been some conception of it in my mind long before I actually began the labor. Why?
In my puzzlement, I timidly asked God for a poem. It is only recently that I have dared to ask God for poems and I do so with a shy humility. I do not doubt that God has given me many poems in the past, but it is quite a different thing to ask for one.
Indeed, I have taken to asking God when I feel l might like to write a post or paint as well. “I would like to write for You (or paint for You), if You would like to give me something…” the prayer begins, accepting that God may have something else in mind and that all good gifts come from Him.
Before the poem came, I had thought I might simply post the image and invite readers to tell me if they saw any meaning in the painting. Why did this image push so hard to be born?
And so, I invite you, if you are inclined, to reflect. But it is not a Rorschach 🙂 and I know that the message to the painter may be unique and different than it is for each reader of the image. Whenever you are ready, the poem is below.
so ancient the tree
standing timeless, eternal –
yet lush and youthful it is,
alive in the mystery
of each leaf’s unfolding.
deepening into summer,
yet bursting with spring,
unchanging it changes,
with hints of autumn gold.
all in one tree. all in one time.
its roots plunge down deeper,
unafraid of earth’s darkness.
its limbs extend skyward,
embracing high heaven.
it is strong. it is unshakable. it is victorious.
it is Christ, the Savior.
(p.s. the butterfly, of course, is me.
i must be near Him.)
If, dear reader, you found yourself shocked by the line, “it is Christ”, know that I was shocked even more. I know, of course, that I could never paint our glorious Lord.
And yet in the painting and the poem, in the process of their being born and now being shared, God has given me something for which I must thank Him.
To Him be glory always.