Take a little time to look up an impressionist’s painting. I love Monet. With that fresh in your mind, think about perspective. When you walk up close to this painting, you will observe thousands of small brush strokes in an array of colors. Close up there is some beauty but in many ways it looks like a lot of chaos truly makes no sense. It is pretty hard to get an idea of what the artist it trying to express. Now take several steps back from this painting. Something amazing happens. Thousands of tiny brush strokes make way for shapes and structure. The colors blend together to create new colors and something you could not see before, takes shape. The chaos become beautiful and the artist intended expression makes more sense. It is like that in life. When we are face to face with trials of life, there is not much room for perspective. We see the chaos of each brush stroke and a mess of color that seem strangely placed. There is no picture and beautiful is the last way we would describe our life.
But God sends people into our lives, who have been standing back observing this “painting” process in our life. Their perspective is something we couldn’t see, being in the middle of it all. They see colors blending together and pictures that have taken shape. They see that the artist intentions were beauty not chaos. They see reasons for color choices that we would never have chosen. So, all this to say, we are thankful for those who have spoken perspective into our lives. And those who have pointed out the order in our chaos. Both perspectives are necessary to walk through a process like this. You can stand back and see the picture being painted before you and have, in turn shared what you observe, color blending and something taking shape. I can share the details I don’t see colors blended, I see instead, what was used to make that color. I see the tears and agony and joys and victories it took to paint one of the thousand brush strokes. To me every stroke has a meaning. You see it as part of the big picture’s beauty. But when I cannot understand why a stroke was placed, I need only to remember there is a big picture and the artist, he knows why. Every stroke is part of the masterpiece. I am thankful for those of you who share perspective. I am just living it, and in living it, I do not see outside the everyday survival at times. Thank you for your encouragement and love and grace as I walk this journey one day, one “brush stroke” at a time.
Five months before Chris passed, on the heels of life altering surgery, I was desperate and looking for hope and perspective. (Above is an excerpt of that.) I’d put aside passions and parts of me that I felt would hinder complete and utter devotion to caring for Chris. I stored away and stuffed the ache and the sadness, for as long as I could. Allowing myself moments, trying (not too successfully) to make them brief. Aw… control… it served me well, ha, or so I thought. Amidst the journey’s steps I have (on so many occasions) broke down, and completely lost my resolve, to be strong (on my own strength). Having very little grace in my grief, I’ve fallen into chaotic and messy emotional places, and always get so upset with myself. After a fairly long battle, and after tears have subsided, then …. I’d finally seek God’s face and the wise counsel that came from those candles God had placed along the dark cave walls of this journey. All I had to do is reach out… and there it was… His divine provision in the candlelight of dear ones He surrounded me with.
“He had delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son…. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” -Colossians 1:13
“That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3
Now, my perspective has been narrowed some and I am looking, specifically, at the dark brushstrokes. Deconstructing them, if you will, for perspective and to find His goodness. I know you, my widow sisters, see the dark strokes across your canvas… sometimes it’s the only thing you can see. Please know there is beauty in them. Our canvas wears these dark strokes, but they are not all that lay upon our canvas. Whenever you choose to encourage a sister, she sees the amazing colors and brushstrokes that surround the dark and painful ones. Whenever you choose to come alongside a sister, her perspective widens and she sees more and more of her canvas. Even though the dark places may still not make sense, beauty can be recognized alongside the darkness and a masterpiece is being revealed in each of us. Thank you sisters. God’s used you in just that way for me.