Tag Archives: God

After the Rain

After the Rain

“After the Rain” iPad photo DS

No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

First Book of Corinthians

 

This morning as my red car climbs the driveway drips from the tall trees twinkled among the branches and fell in turn on the graveled tarmac. It seemed like a new washed world. The plants I had struggled to water with the kinked hose a few days ago came to mind. There was no way I could ever have watered the pink flowering bushes, white roses and purple viola pots the way last night’s rain had.

I watched through the darkening windows of my living room the night before in mild shock that in this week before summer white hail stones were piling up on the brown aggregate patio.

Later in the afternoon, the words, into each life some rain must fall, came into my mind as I thought about driving the short distance to my women’s group earlier. I did a mini-ponder about whether our lives were actually cleaned by the difficult times we go through. There can be harm in extreme events, but mostly the unpleasant pouring rain – like hard times, may not be bad for us. In fact, I mused, we may be helped by them.

I then wondered if a break in a relationship might be like days of pouring rain – that perhaps the sun might shine on that relationship again after events bring things into more clarity. The vivid colours after the harsh rain, might they be like positive qualities of the other person that may be brought forth after not seeing them for a while, I pondered.

Into every life some rain must fall, yes, most rain does not hurt. Some difficulties we can prepare for. I knew yesterday that the hanging fuchsia petunias would not survive the battering of heavy rain. I took them down and put them under the eaves where only the odd splashes of water would reach them.

It must be about contrast, about rest, about change, about arranging our points of view perhaps, I decided. Does the rain that falls in our lives help or hurt – and so we contemplate God’s care and intervention in our lives.

The white roses can escape harm from downpours by their inherent strength. I consider God’s complicated relationship with beauty in creating both the gorgeous intricate world for us to enjoy daily and also the shining angel, Lucifer, who would cause many to fall into ugliness.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Book of Genesis

How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!

Book of Isaiah

Ella Fitzgerald and The Inkspots: Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ9IaplRrm4

 

Blue Suede Shoes

IMG_3105

“Blue Suede Shoes” Collage DS

So yesterday as I walked the UBC campus a woman came out of a building wearing blue suede shoes. I had just written an in class test and was on my way to grab lunch at a nearby Italian café. My hand went to my bag to retrieve my phone to capture her feet. Then disappointed, I realized I could not take a photo of her feet without being observed. I thought perhaps it would be a violation of her privacy unless I asked permission. I was too tired for that level of sociability.

Today they are still etched in my memory. They were a lighter blue than expected – just a bit paler than blue jeans. They had chunk brown heels and matching blue fringes along the sides of the low rise boots. They complimented her pencil skirt in beige. She was a student of fashion.

Last week I had just gifted a light blue-framed collage I had created months go. It featured a cut-out of boots which I had coloured royal blue. The abstract surrounding magazine imaging of ochre and orange I supplemented with royal purple, green, red and white paint. The idea of creating those blue suede shoes low in the picture plain gave me great pleasure. I did not know why.

It came to me that they were a metaphor for dancing, yes. I have always, from my earliest days of doing the Scottish “Highland Fling” and “Sword Dance,” loved dancing. In recent years, after a catastrophic ankle injury, I do not dance – on the outside. Inside, however, I dance as much as I have always done. This, I see, is God’s message to me. He sees me, as I really am – a dancer.

David danced before the Lord with all his might.

Second Book of Samuel

The Spirituality of Waiting

Waiting II

“Waiting II” DS Mixed Media on Paper

White gallon pails of plaster paint lined the walls and filled spaces under rough wooden tables in the sturdy outbuilding near the un-ploughed fields of green acreage. The fresco paint had been waiting almost a decade then for someone with strength who knew how to mix paint in the ancient way. Father Dunstan showed our visiting art class the extensive Cubist drawings he had created over a lifetime. I could not grasp their full extent even from the white vellum drawings scrolled out on the old table.

In many ways it was an idyllic day:

– White clouds in a blue sky

– A walk along a narrow path ending on a precipice overlooking a vast flat valley

– Lavish stained glass cut outs in a grey concrete building

– A tower building where Jesuit priests pulled bells ringing the hours of the day

– Simple delicious meals presided over by a conversational priest

Father Dunstan Massey waited years for others to make the decision to hire a craftsman, and for the person with the skills to help, to be identified, and to be available.

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Monk+devotes+life+adorning+Mission+Westminster+Abbey/8303040/story.html

At Regent College Bookstore one day I saw his book now written, the project now completed. I took in the photos of Father Dunstan on scaffolding as a really old man supervising the fulfillment of his dream. Later I returned to Westminster Abbey, Mission, B.C. for a retreat weekend. I saw the completed work in person– a privilege unusual and unforeseen. Time for God is so unlike our idea of timing. So many things are brought together that we are unaware of.

I wait today for others to decide for my work after graduation. I do interviews, present materials and ideas for projects and time periods that fit for me. I make tentative study and materials preparations. I rearrange storage space. Two venues have decided ‘not yet.’ Two more have passed the time when their decision would be made. Three alternatives have been approached and are now silent. Waiting is hard – especially in planning our schedules and keeping a good attitude.

There are so many ways of waiting – a birth, a death, a wedding, for something to be over, for something to start, even to endure something. We wait for winter to pass. The seeds now planted, I watch every leaf form wishing for flowers to appear right away. I want my garden to flourish. But I know, I must water, weed and feed. It is God who makes things grow when it is time.

After asking God to guide and open doors, I now want the guidance to be on my schedule and the doors I knock on to be the ones that open. Yet, our mysterious God works wonders that make no sense to us. Why old age for Father Dunstan? Indeed why me? We wait together with God. As the plan grows to fruition, we mature. We develop true intimacy with our Maker.

Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying.  

Book of Romans

 

 

 

 

 

A Parrot in the Window

 

Snow Angel Collage

“Snow Angel” Found Paper Collage 2015 DS

Flashlight in hand I set out for a prayer walk this evening. The rain had stopped but the road glistened with all of the colours of the rainbow, sometimes together and at times a lone – red tree, blue bush, or an orange roofline with flashing LED wreaths. What a backdrop for my prayers. It had been a while since I walked in the evening.

As I climbed a hill in the leafy neighbourhood I looked up to a window and saw – of all things – a parrot. The sight took me as a symbol – of what I am not sure – of beauty, of delight, of the exotic nature of life. Just outside, within the parrot’s view, a regular birdhouse hung in the window. In awe of the bird in the lit square in the darkness, a scene of outdoor and indoor birds became my reverie.

The walk began in serious concern. I prayed for family, friends and for guidance and strength for myself in the New Year. The half-hour ended with smiles to the night sky and gratitude. Again God had spoken peace to me using birds.

The last bird was a white one, a couple of weeks ago, which flew briefly above some bushes across my sightline. I had to double check with myself that I had actually seen it. I do not recall ever having noticed a bird like it here before. I felt immediate calm as I tackled my work of creating under the pressure of the season. I was able to include a few original collage cards in with my scribed offerings this time.

It has been such a beautiful holiday season again. The snow – well it is lovely while it lasts. The Christmas lights, still shining, uplift my colourist soul. The singing – I can only say that it heals me. The laughter and giving have extended into 2016. Again there is evidence of faith, hope and love. May the new refugees in particular be overwhelmed with God’s goodness this year.

Art School

Attended Emily Carr University 2008-2013

“Self-Portait Art School 2011” Attended Emily Carr University 2008-2013

As a part-time art student I was basically out of the community information loop. Most things were announced or told about informally on the days that I was not on campus. Regrettably I missed a lot.

What I did get however was like a weak connection to something as powerful as the World Wide Web of the international and the local art scene. I saw postings on the notice boards. I attended visiting artist lectures. I learned in class about things I had never heard about before. A conference here and there at student prices amazed me with their scope. I explored a new landscape

Even from the periphery it was too much to take in at any one time. I connected here and there as it suited me. It would have been hubris to have said that the relationship was symbiotic. Yet, in a vastly unequal way, it was true. As I took in it added so much to what I had and to what I gave back. I was filled with life and culture. I expressed that.

Art school formed me. My person and work were validated. I came to know my style and my art movement niche. My place in the art community consolidated. I came to know myself through my art. Things came out of my soul that had been latent for years. I have never worked so hard. Rarely have I been so happy.

To a great extent it was the way that God helped me to be who I really am. My world is enlarged. My heart is opened. I see now what I was blind to before. As a narrative painter I have the visual vocabulary now tell the stories I know. Art school was a testing ground, a boot camp, and a playground for the abundant life I now lead.

Future Directions

Paintings donated to BCWH placed above cans

“The Angel Meetings above the Recycling and Garbage at BCWH”

While preparing for “The Abundant Life” art show at The Carey Centre, UBC, it seems God had in mind for me to do a review of my life, so far. Art and life mix together, as is the case for a narrative painter. Recently I had occasion to visit B.C. Women’s Hospital and to see the paintings that I donated a few years ago. I noticed that now they are accompanied in the space by the recycling and garbage. My first reaction was outrage and to plan a phone call to the hospital foundation to ask that the garbage be moved.

As the day went on, I thought about the image. The paintings are part of a series of six that I created called “The Angel Meetings”. I had imagined that angels met to discuss how to handle us humans here on earth. They would strategize ways to help us. When I looked at the paintings today it came to me that just like Jesus’ cross being his way to provide cleansing for the detritus of the world, so his angels would be dealing with us and our garbage in his power. God’s ways are not mine, but are higher (Isaiah 55:9). So be it. They were offered up to God and given.

I have been concerned about many things (Luke 10:41): art sales, workshops, people. Yet, I choose to sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary (Luke 10:42) and wait for his next steps for me and leave the results of my work up to him.

DS, June 2015.