Art As Sacred Exchange

Sparks; 2015; 21.25" x 29.25"; mixed media: watercolor, acrylic, ink, pastel.

Sparks; 2015; 21.25″ x 29.25″; mixed media: watercolor, acrylic, ink, pastel.

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
hope ignited

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 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…

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  1. Colleen,

    I loved reading the song/prayer of your heart that’s behind this beautiful painting—powerful! And how beautiful this sacred exchange.

    ~joanna

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