2020 has been full of surprises and surrender! I’m learning things about myself, my time management skills and creativity for pandemic boredom.
I’m also learning how to use the opposite side of my body and that is amping up my need for slow controlled movements. Although frustrating, this exercises my virtue of patience.
I had surgery a little over a week ago on my shoulder so I am now only able to use my non-dominant left hand and arm for various tasks. The plan was to return to work next week and continue on the healing journey. Then yesterday happened, I blacked out at the doctors office and had to spend several hours there before being able to come home and salvage what was left of my wedding anniversary.
All of a sudden I find myself in a place of forced respite; the doctor has written me off work for another week. Having a lot of downtime would be awesome, but in this physical state I am limited as to what I can do. I love to journal when I pray and not being able to write with my dominant hand has been somewhat disheartening. Today God invited me to spend some time outside and journal using my left hand and a totally different side of my brain.
In July I attended an overnight retreat on praying through art and received an art prayer journal which I’ve only opened once since then, so today out came the oil based crayons and watercolors.
I began with the page in portrait orientation. While listening to prayerful music and closing my eyes I placed the brush in the center and just started with a gentle swirling motion. Feeling my hand moving upwards, I opened my eyes to extend outward. At first glance what I saw was a snail with googly eyes and I wondered where God could be leading me. Sitting quietly for just another moment I opened my eyes again and turned the page landscape and what I saw then was a unique looking fish! I then worked from the bottom of the sea adding plants and corals then the water. I wanted to put some sort of a light since at this point I knew Jesus was the big fish, and did my best to brighten a yellow spot in the water. As I continued coloring and drawing I did so with a smile knowing that God was bringing out in me one of my favorite scripture passages, Matthew 4:19: “And he said unto them, follow me and I will make you fishers of men”.
Once I realized this, I was a little bummed that I had not left more space behind the large fish for followers. Drawing and painting the little fish proved very difficult with my non-dominant hand some of them look like they can use a little help but then don’t we all!
At this point the yellow brightness was just a blob in the water so I gave it roots and soon it was more plant life. This would be the finishing point and I was excited to have completed it all with my left hand! Even though a 5th grader could do better, I felt accomplished and at ease in my mind.
Looking at the finished product again in portrait mode, I still see that silly looking snail-like creature but now it appears as if the little fish are being held or somewhat shepherded.
When I attended the art workshop I learned some unique things about what colors and lines mean for me. Based on the workshop insights in assigning a color and a brush stroke to an emotion, this painting reveals what I was experiencing during this prayerful moment. The colors of teal, blue, and green represent harmony peace and anticipation. The colors of yellow, orange and black represent hope, sadness and confusion. The purple color represents excitement.
Taking time to reflect on the insights revealed through color and line was amazing and warmed my heart. Jesus is providing harmony; the waters are peaceful and the little bit of green in the coral at the bottom is where the anticipation lies; hope is being revealed in the yellow sea plants that Jesus is swimming towards; confusion lies in the orange of the sea plants at the bottom of the sea; and sadness and frustration are revealed in the black color of the following fish. Then excitement is revealed in the purple branches that are holding up the hope-filled yellow sea plant!
The scripture passage this drawing revealed has always been near and dear to my heart especially when it comes to Spiritual Direction and my answering God’s call. God brought it into my heart today to uplift me and to remind me that He is the one who puts color on my canvas. God knows exactly how I am feeling on this bump in my journey. As long as I trust and follow him with courage, hope and strength in my heart I will be OK.
At this moment for whatever reason , God has asked me to take a step back. This prayerful experience and in this form of journaling has revealed for me that I still have hope in God even amidst the confusion sadness, and my frustration. I know that Jesus is still leading me towards my exciting and hope-filled life!
Thank you for taking the time to read and I hope you get a chuckle at the masterpiece! 😊 Many blessings for a great evening to you all!