Day 47 February 16, 2013
“Work with flowers- artificial or real, live or dried, picked or bought.” -from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin
First, let me confess I did not paint this picture today. I painted it last August…on the outside of a door to a small shelter in hills surrounding the Shenandoah Valley. Someone special had made the shelter for me to stay in as a place to rest, meditate, and be with God. I had been asked to paint the outside of the door with a mural and with great anticipation I planned and prepared to paint a beautiful field of sunflowers on the door. Having purchased fresh paint and new brushes and gathered together clean rags and gallons of water I set out to the hills to my special shelter with a vision and all the tools I needed. I had set aside three days to get the job done. I had an agenda of painting the mural, resting my body and spirit, and sharing some time there with friends. But God had a different agenda for me. I am not shocked nor surprised at that, for that seems to be the norm. What DID surprise me though was how God used my talent and willingness in an unforeseen way. As I set up my workspace I began to notice the sky getting cloudy. Undaunted and even appreciative of the cloud cover I set about painting. Painting is bliss for me. I love watching color flow from brush to canvas (in this case the door). I often find myself lost from the world focused on the magic happening before my eyes and this was the case on this particular morning. After a while I noticed a cooling mist that I welcomed on that hot August day. I continued painting on the door under the overhang of the roof until the mist became a sprinkle with the threat of a full blown torrent of rain. After putting my supplies inside I went and gathered with friends for a meal and conversation. The evening became night and it was time to return to the shelter for the night. I walked through the dark dampness with the small light of a flashlight and when I got to the door my heart sank. Paint melted and ran through the unfinished painting. The sunflowers that had been waiting for me to paint the browns and golds were dripping streams of yellow and green paint. I went to bed disappointed that night. And I confess my prayers were not mellow and full of gratitude. All that work, I thought, had been ruined. Everything had to be redone. How wonderful those moments in the mist had been and how awful the result. But…God had something else in mind. The next morning I walked with a group of friends standing to the door and showed them what had happened and shared my frustration and sadness. I was surprised at their response. Instead of criticism and pity they told me what they saw…”Spirit Flowers” said my friend. “A Heavenly Meadow”, someone said. “The tall one holds the gateway to God”, said another. And there they stood loving what the rain had done and seeing the beauty that I had not. No…I did not paint this today, but I recalled vividly the need to get out of the way and let God’s plan unfold. I remembered today that there can be beauty and redemption in the least likely of places. P.S.: I never did repaint that door and the Heavenly Meadow of Spirit Flowers greets me each time I retreat from the world in my sacred space.