During Lent this year I went to a lovely Prayer and Painting day at my church. It was the first time I had done anything like this for years and I felt liberated by it in a way that I had not experienced for a long time. When I got home with my works of art of the day I read them to the meaningful people in my life and displayed them on the music stand for a while. Then I decided it was time to move on so I actually threw them away!! I have never done that in the past! I have kept every word, drawing, picture, plasticine model I have ever created at such days or retreats. I still treasure numerous plaques with meaningful words, stones and shells combed from beaches, and flowers picked from forest floors pressed and faded in the pages of my journals. Maybe it is to do with moving onto a digital age and finding different ways of storage, that helped me release them to the depths of the blue topped bin having taken photographs of them and stored them in a computerised form. But whatever we do with meaningful stuff that God has used to speak to us He stores it for us and goes on using it as long as it has relevance to our lives. So, here I am in one of the shadier places of my journey, reaching out to God and learning so much about my absolute need of Him, and asking so many questions of where He is taking me…yet knowing that I just have to follow trustingly across this bumpy terrain…and suddenly this picture that I painted at that day jumps into my memory and becomes really important for me. The day was based on the story of the man at the pool of Siloam who had waited for years for the angel to come and stir up the waters and then hoping someone would help him get in there whilst they were still bubbling so he could be healed. This was his only hope and year after year went by with him not being able to get there at the given time and missing the opportunity. We thought about how it feels to be ‘kept waiting by God’ and how it would feel if we did actually get into the waters at the right time. So this painting was based on how I felt getting into the waters and how I felt about myself at that point of time. The yellow back-ground resembles the hope of actually getting into the place of healing. The reds symbolise the love and healing of God splashed over my own darkness and muddle. There is a lump of tangled grey and black thread which nicely depicted for me the tangled thoughts and feelings I had at the time and around the whole thing, a thread that holds me captive with a big knot in the middle that I could not undo. Scattered around are black feathers which I broke savagely before sticking them on because I needed so much to symbolised the feeling of being broken.
I guess in the days that followed, during Holy Week, as I walked a labyrinth and laid things down and chucked symbolising stones into a ‘Baggage Bin’ and as I focussed on my Saviour and His sufferings and death for me, over Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and took part in the drama of His story as depicted on Easter Saturday, things changed. Without me realising it the knot around me loosened and the tangle of thread drifted away. The ‘broken bird’ I had felt for so long, found her wings strong and healed and on Easter Sunday flew on the morning wind in resurrection praise!! But this week, facing uncertainties and unknowns……this time of my life, that only such a short while ago I did not know would be….the Shepherd has reminded me of this painting and I found myself meditating on another aspect. That of WAITING! Just now we are waiting for an MRI scan for Ted, and then we will be waiting for results. Everyone says it, ….’WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART!” But if God is there with us we can do it……and ‘HIS TIMING IS PERFECT’ after all!