Not What I Pictured

  • Not What I Pictured

    I had a totally different idea what my life would look like 30+ years ago.  I was excited to begin exploring what stretched out before me like a beautiful meadow complete with towering trees on a hill and flowers everywhere.  I scanned the horizon and saw the goals ahead.  I experienced following the leader, hide and go seek, and a few merry-go-rounds.  I thought I knew what I wanted and set out for life with it all packed away deep in the closet of my heart ready to live it enthusiastically.  Unfortunately, life has its own way of unpacking or revealing itself and I wasn't invited to unpack it, just experience it. 

    Don't get me wrong I'm not complaining; it's kind of late for that now.  I am content with "things" such as they are, yet I have to admit the picture turned out completely different from when I innocently began this adventure.  The meadow was actually an alligator farm and some of the flowers made me break out in hives!  The merry-go-round lasted longer than I thought it would, but after I got used to it - it wasn't bad!  I didn't learn that I was knee deep in someone else's Hide and Seek game until after it was over because I was too busy following the leader to realize the game. The tree proved to be a refuge - tall and stately - a great place to rest.  I thought I made it through the meadow, only the meadow was much bigger than I thought.  What should have been a walk in the park was actually an expedition into a wildlife refuge. Not at all what I was mentally or emotionally prepared for, but I gained from the experience.  I enjoyed much of it despite the hives, some dizziness, and my lack of experience. 
    Here are 7 lessons I took away from that meadow:
    Lesson 1: Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don't say what is mean. 
    Lesson 2: Make sure the leader you are following has The Leader (you know, the One) they are following or and they have an excellent map/compass. 
    Lesson 3: Keep following the Leader/map even if your leader stops following. 
    Lesson 4: There is a huge difference between politeness and truth - one has it's place and the other owns the place.
    Lesson 5: If you stop in the middle of a meadow it could very well be an alligator farm or a lion's den. 
    Lesson 6: Everyone sets out to cross the meadow, but only a few actually get to the other side.  It's usually because they had a nice tall tree to climb so they could see the way ahead (and the alligators or the lions). 
    Lesson 7: Don't be sorry you gave your life blood for something.  You should never apologize for giving or loving.   
    Life handed me gifts and I willingly became a fragile package handler, a porter of life and I carried what was stacked in my arms.  I admittedly enjoyed my post at times, and what I did not, in all honesty I tried not to complain about.  I had my moments.  I found that what I couldn't carry when the load became too great, I passed off the burden to someone much bigger than I.  Not only was this One fully capable, but graciously able to carry all of it.  This lesson still applies.

    So, the colors ran wild and the picture got smudged - not a pretty sight!  I think it is the work of an artist who employs abstract symbolism.  The artist's use of mistakes and flaws to enhance the beauty of the work is beyond me. I couldn't see it then.  The textures, colors, direction of the focus is not what I imagined or would have chosen, but better than I could have imagined.  I can see and understand a little more now.  At the time, I was devastated.  Where's the picture? Is there anything human even visible in this thing?  Why me? Why you? Why them?  I don't have to tell me. I've already figured it out that questions like these often don't have an answer, so don't ask.  I probably wouldn't like the answer if I heard it anyway. 

    I once shook my fist at the sky and heard His strong yet tender voice say, "I take the blame".  I lowered my fist and set my hands to work pulling stickers. My tears watered the dry ground of my life.  I poured out my heart right there on the sin-filled soil of my ignorance.  I revisited this place many times as a guard keeps his post.  I kept the stickers pulled (they were always trying to come back) and while I pulled the stickers, I emptied my wounds again and again through tears. I walked away time after time only to find it brazenly painted in the picture when I got home. Torment or tenderness?  Betrayal or beauty? Lest I forget? For a memorial of some kind in the distant future?  My one vindication: the stickers were eventually gone and freedom was enjoyed. Though there are always stickers I now know how to rid myself of them with the persistence I learned. 

    I wanted to slash the canvas and rip it to shreds, but I knew if I did more would be destroyed than meets my finite human eye.  Onlookers witnessed my every move, my breath, my heartbeat.  They witnessed my whole life.  What I count as broken or marred is art?  How can this arrangement of my life's blood and wounds become of any value?  I threw it on the ground!  Not just once - many times!  I left it for dead.  I picked it up again and I seemed to just mar it all the more; I smudged it. I smeared the paint. 
    I accepted what was placed in my hands and cherished the gifts given me.  I still do.  I gave what I could and what I had. I didn't have any more to give.  Was the lifeblood I spilled enough to finish the picture?  Is it enough?   
    I am comforted to know there are those who  There are those who knew the stickers and knew me.  Know me and still love me to this day. 

    I birthed life and Life birthed me
    I sing a song of bravery
    He hands out gifts
    He blesses tears
    This artist who mastered me

    Painted words and words of paint
    textured into memory
    heavy burdens lift
    Angel voices theirs
    by this artist who mastered me

    Remember Me...(Oh I remember!)
    You never left my side
    was buried only yet to rise
    life blood's spent, now heir
    of this artist who mastered me

    I birthed love and Love birthed me
    I sing a song of laboring
    He hands out gifts
    He blesses years
    This artist who mastered me

    Surrendered then surrendered again
    a lifetime lover's prize
    sinew strength in gentle eyes
    he mastered me then
    he masters me now
    This artist who mastered me 
    Why must I remember? What is the lesson here?  There sits a painted testimony of a life.  Not just a life that once was, but a life that continues.  Do not ask me how it continues with its lifeblood painted upon an open canvas for all to see, to scrutinize, or observe.  You don't have to tell me how it came out.  As a matter of a fact, it is still kind of painful to see, but I believe.  Certain areas are just too blurry for me to get the picture, but I’ve gotten to know the artist.  He is really good at what He does.  I have enjoyed other works by Him: the glorious sunrise, masterful sunset, picturesque mountains, and the ocean waves against the jetty – beautiful!   I have accepted the artist's rendition and his viewpoint. After all, he is the master painter. He is known for his work and though the piece is not finished in my eyes or opinion, he exclaims,  "It is Finished!"
    When all I see a dried out piece of painted, marred Play-Doh depicted on a simple canvas I need to remember that the master artist sees potential.  He sees it finished.  I will take what He says to heart and wait until the day when it all makes sense.