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.