Category Archives: Artist

The Lenten Writings: taste the darkness

Dear God,

why do I keep fighting you off?

One part of me wants you desparately,

another part of me unknowingly

pushes you back and runs away.

What is there in me that

so contradicts my desire for you?

These transition days, these passage ways,

are calling me to let go of old securities,

to give myself over into your hands.

Like Jesus who struggled with the pain

I, too, fight the “let it all be done.”

Loneliness, lostness, non-belonging,

all these hurts strike out at me,

leaving me pained with this present goodbye.

I want to be more but I fight the growing.

I want to be new but I hang unto the old.

I want to live but I won’t face the dying.

I want to be whole but cannot bear

to gather up the pieces into one.

Is it that I refuse to be out of control,

to let the tears take their humbling journey,

to allow my spirit to feel its depression,

to stay with the insecurity of “no home”?

Now is the time. You call to me,

begging me to let you have my life,

inviting me to taste the darkness

so I can be filled with the light,

allowing me to lose my direction

so that I will find my way home to you.

I have been revisiting artwork lately, pieces that I made to anchor truth. This journey of inviting the deep places of knowing often felt so out of control.

The “I want to be whole…” line resonates. It is only in the risking that wholeness truly comes. But sometimes, it involves tasting the darkness.

I made this piece to honor my sense of smell, a very concrete sense that was given back as I moved into this part of the work of healing.

God is like that. We are not parts; five senses. We are whole; one body.

And so, even the senses themselves are interconnected, and enlivened by truth.

One person shared today at church about the way he sees the world in color. Literally, even numbers have hue.

I wonder how vividly we will see someday?

For today, I just get to smell it, like a whiff of a far off delicious scent.

May it be so.

Source: “Prayer of one who feels lost” from Praying our goodbyes, Joyce Rupp. South Bend, IN: Ave Maria Press, 1983.

From the Lenten Poetry Companion, Mystic Activists, Neighborhood Ministries.

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An artist date 

yesterday i was in a funk. loneliness linked arms with grief and self pity and threatened to push past anything in its path.
i sank into the inertia as the moon rise began.
finally i asked for help, messaged a friend, and took myself out. even the motion of driving down the street began to break the “stuck” feeling.
i walked through the aisles of Michael’s, 60% off coupon in hand. i was looking for pencils. prismacolor pencils.
if you have never used prismacolors you have not fully lived. i have a great set of colored pencils, every hue imaginable, in a cool tin. but prismacolors are like velvet. no “scritch-scratch” accompanies their movement across paper. they glide along, leaving vibrant hues in their wake.
my first clue should have been that the pencil aisle was bare of prismacolors, save empty boxes. they live at the front, near the cashier, under lock and key. second, the prices are in tiny print, no sales here. my eyes widened as i saw the set as broad as my 48 japanese look alikes was $89.99. out of budget, no discernment needed. maybe i could do the 36s, for some variety. nope. $67.99. even with the coupon i couldnt justify it. if i were an art major maybe; not as a midwife. i “settled” for the 24s, still $27.99 but remember, i had that coupon. up i marched to the front, trying to console myself that they were still prismacolors.
the cashier complimented me on my choice and headed for the case, key ring jingling. he returned too quickly, apologetic. “we only have the 12s, we’re out of 24s”. i could feel my heart shutting down, ready to settle. i was taught from an early age to do this, choose the smaller piece of pie.
then he brought out the 36s. “you could do these”. i asked him the price, hoping against hope thst i had read it wrong. nope…$67.99. my yankee training and an awaremess of our budget made that an easy answer. i felt my heart begin its shut down.
“just a minute”. he began to punch some keys, reaching for my phone to scan the coupon. after a few minutes he said, “how anout $15?”. wait what?! as if my brain couldn’t process the synapses i asked three times, “for the 36s?”
yep. that is what the man said.
“absolutely!” i said, and we both laughed.
my heart expanded a little, softened by the sirprise of unexpected grace.
nothing changed in my circumstances. all of the grief still remained. but my heart felt lighter.
and when i came home, before lights out, i colored a tiny bit of an elephant bright red.
just because.
and the color laid down like velvet.