Monday, October 4, 2010

"The Scarred Casing Fails You"

I’ve been working on a certain painting for almost eight months now, which seems an absurd amount of time, and it's still not done.  (But seeing as life happens so frequently, my painting often does not.)   It all started with a dream.  In the dream I am standing before a group of people holding two paintings.  The first painting I had already done, but the second was completely new to me.  I starred at it.  It was off-white with a ridged plaster border.  I could see hints of blue and faded writing around the edges, but in the center there was nothing.  I knew that the paintings were a pair, a series, before-and-after. 

The first painting was a prayer for healing, painted nearly three years ago.  The painting is of an anatomical heart; the heart done with gesso (plaster) is rough to the touch, almost sharp.  It’s surrounded by a cloud of black, but is being penetrated by white, purple, blue, and gold—purity, identity, revelation/peace/healing, and truth.   I wrote a song onto the painting, Broken Heart by Falling Up.  It sums it up well.

A few days after the dream, I was curled up on my living room floor (inside the fort) journaling… God what is in the center of the painting?  I got this mental picture of a pair of wings surrounding a smooth, whole heart—guarding and protecting it.  “He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.”  (Psalm 91:4, NASB).

I wrote: “Beneath the scar tissue… You shelter me.  There is a place in the depths of my heart that sin and death could not touch.  You surround me with Your wings, and beneath them I am whole.  You took my lashings and my pain; You protected me before my life began.  I shed the dead skin.  May the scales fall away.  My calluses now fall away, like a plaster casing shattered.  Ashes to ashes; the evidence of death is mere dust, dust blown by the wind, dust from which You create again.  With even the dusts of death do You create life.  You have every victory.”

The first painting depicts every wound I’ve ever received, whether self-inflicted or from others.  But the second painting shows that the walls are just a casing around who I really am and that who I am is safe.  I began to realize that I was guilty of self-protection; I used my emotional scars as walls.  I do not need to protect myself.  Though pain and suffering is inevitable, I do not have to be bound in it.  Forgiveness is freedom.   The scarred casing fails; Love never fails.  The plaster hides my beauty and restricts my movement.  Feeling is not to be feared when redemption is real.   

[Painting #1]                                                                 [Painting #2]

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