In the last ten days, hell-flames burned near; but hope-fire blazed ever more real. At times I felt trampled, like grass in a flood: soggy and mud clogged, bent under raging billows. Sometimes I felt like a tree surviving a winter storm, battered but proud, lifting weathered defiant arms in worship. Many times Elijah’s birds swooped in out of nowhere with gifts of sustenance: food, encouragement, prayer. And I felt loved far beyond what I deserve: humbled and grateful. Always, I knew I was held.
Ten days ago, a person I dearly love was hospitalized for acute mental illness. This person was discharged yesterday.
At first, crisis shock numbed my heart. The first few days were a blur of phone calls, appointments, just trying to keep the basics of a household moving. Then pain crushed in, raw, trembling, ragged. On that day I disengaged from phone and email. I picked up tools of emotional survival and began to paint: deeper than conscious thought, beyond questions and fear.
In a place beyond words, these snippet-attempts to translate the language of the soul emerge:
sudden violent winds raging below, above, all around
the mighty flame of God’s Presence with me, for me, shielding the core of my heart
there in that secret place, a hidden fire, unseen on the outside but more real than any external experience
the raging tempest activates sparks
sparks streaking through a dark night, perhaps intersecting with another broken heart
Like a responsive song, I whispered to the paper; the paint sang back to me. Peace flooded my soul. For me, Sparks is the visual record of this sacred exchange.
12 thoughts on “Art As Sacred Exchange”
Your painting resonates with pure peace and serenity.
thank you tony! sometimes the deepest peace is the one hardest fought for…
Sending so much light and love your way through prayer.
your daughter’s art flashes through my mind often when i am running – my best time of contemplation when i rehearse all the reasons i’d like to give up, and all the reasons i never will. your daughter’s artwork keeps me going…
Just beautiful. The words and the painting!
Praying for peace and deliverance for you all.
thank you so much for your love and encouragement megan! your honest, transparent writing is always a gift to me.
I loved reading the song/prayer of your heart that’s behind this beautiful painting—powerful! And how beautiful this sacred exchange.
what a gift your heart is to me joanna!
Your painting truly expresses all the sentiments you write about. In many ways I think the visual language is more capable of expressing those difficult emotions around mental health.
yes, i agree otto. there are just some things that there are no words for. image is both revealing and healing in a way that words can never be.
Lovely piece, lovely post. Sending up prayers for warmth and comfort for you and yours.
thank you! i’m so glad you found me. prayer, indeed, is the heartbeat of walking this challenging journey.
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