Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
MESS/paint and pastel on paper
WEDNESDAY: A transparent mess, that's what I told my shamanic counselor I was. He laughed, said no way, but that he liked the phrase so much he may borrow it. It's on his table and in his care that I feel that I can show up being that mess and not pretend anything else. It's as if my skin is clear, like a sausage casing, and everything inside is visible to all who take the time to look. Kind of like the invisible man or woman kits popular when I was a kid.
Interestingly, the visible insides are a myriad of shapes and bright colors: (at least in my vision) a chaotic, joyful tangle of sorts. I have been thinking how to represent this visually for a long time and hope to when the right concept strikes.
FRIDAY: I am sitting in the nose-bleed section of a Barry Manilow concert certain that this is a dream and I did not consciously buy these tickets and inflict this on my family. The audience makes me feel like a teenager and Barry's gaunt appearance scares me into thinking that if this is not relevant to me, how the heck will it be relevant to my 14-year-old, who seems to be sleeping.
BURNING/pastel on paper
And then the skinny older man on the stage transforms or, maybe it is I who does. Something snaps and I see beyond the aging frame, into the heart of the entertainer. The voice grows stronger, the songs become familiar and I begin to know this person, who shares his story. Tales of growing up in the worst school in American, but being saved by joining the orchestra and of a grandfather who, weekly, walked his grandson to Times Square to ycreate a 25-cent record because he recognized the gift of music. I actually think I like this guy. Of course, I tell my teen, I wouldn't have been caught dead in college attending one of his concerts. So why did I this time?
Possibly because I got an e-mail tip on steeply discounted tickets or because I knew my girls had studied him in music, maybe it was because he's now a classic and there won't be many other opportunities or a myriad of other reasons. Doesn't really matter because there was ONE moment when God spoke very directly and deeply to me through this performance. The message was "if this skinny Jewish kid from Brooklyn can become world famous by using his gifts, then imagine what's possible in your life." Sure erases the pile of doubt I have been collecting.
CEASELESSLY/pastel on paper
SUNDAY: A wonderful young-adult Friend gave a powerful message [see link below] in worship filling me with all sorts of colorful images. She spoke of the faithfulness of a specific Monarch butterfly that, against, all odds, travels thousands of miles every year, crossing long stretches of water in a body that is less than aerodynamic for anything but soaring and catching a breeze. Ceaselessly, these creatures make their way to the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Mexico, crowding and causing the trees to become burning clumps of orange. She compared this faithfulness to our own spiritual journeys. What jumped out for me was how our Quaker meetinghouse is one of those trees, where we have all been drawn and our next step is to discern who we are collectively and where God is calling us. I am salivating, waiting to capture this image of orange trees, bursting with love, faith and trust.
MONDAY: So why do these three experiences call to me, what are they telling me? Maybe:
• God wants us to show our interiors to the world in all our full color and glory as messy and human as they may seem ... there's also divine design involved.
• Using our gifts transforms us and others.
• We are meant to share our giftedness and messiness in community, acknowledging our own and those in others. Our individual journeys and their lessons of faith and trust can be applied to living, giving and receiving in community.
• When have I felt like a transparent mess?
• What, if any, freedom did I experience by not hiding it?
• How has Spirit shown me the possibilities of my own gifts?
• What unlikely sources of inspiration have spoken deeply to me?
• How am I called to community, sharing my gifts and wounds?
solids and transparent
shapes, brilliant, shiny
exploding inside of the
glint of unseen skin
feels like a mess,
but a deep
then one older, wiser
and more experienced
exposes humble roots, yet
fully embodies his
gifts with joy
and one younger, but with
sharp eyes in her heart,
shares an illustration of
faith drawn from nature,
something simply ...
and I begin to
make out the feint
a grand design
Listen to this post: http://www.turtleboxstories.com/audio/faintoutline.mp3