Lenten writings: a beginning

Today I am thinking about art.
One of my affirmations begins, “I am an artist…”
So much work represented in four words.
It is a declaration, a shout of triumph against the evil one.

Evil likes to silence:
To silence the voice,
To silence the truth,
To silence art.

Because art shows my soul,
Lays it bare for another human.
And perhaps it is the soul that is silenced
When shame kills art.

What are your voices around art?
What messages ring in your head?
Whose voice speaks them?
What triggers their chant?

Mine are in my mother’s voice,
“You are the worst art student I ever taught…”
And other phrases, spoken long ago,
They echo with the power of yesterday.

I watched a circle of women create today.
As quickly as we began, shame walked in.
Uninvited, she threw her blanket over some of my sisters.
Eyes downcast, self-contempt spews, comparison abounds.

And evil laughs.
How long? How long?
How long is joy killed by voices of shame?
It is the cry of Lent. The long road lies ahead.


2 thoughts on “Lenten writings: a beginning

  1. Oh, Joanna! This is seriously where I am at right now! I volunteered at an elementary school here in Boise, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. At first I didn’t want to go, but I felt like I was supposed to. God led me to certain kids and the fear and shame surrounding them, hovering over them, pushing them down, shouting lies at them- was so tangible. I felt something inside of me snap awake. I know this battle. I know the nasty sound of the killers voice. I made a choice to be alive for them, to, like a piece of art, lay myself open bare and vulnerable- free. Beautiful things happened that day. In the kids, and in me. I was believing that I had to have approval from everyone around me to be me. And honestly, to be me is pretty scary. I felt God’s voice stronger and louder then the familiar voice of the shamer. “I made you like this. I chose every way that I made you. I love your swirls. This. This right here is why I made you the way that I did. So be alive.” God has my back when it comes to my life painting? All of the swirls that I dance as I go along? I’ll take it, and I’ll hold onto it.


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