Using Art to Deal and Heal
4/29/2010 11:03 AM
I’m having a hard time “dealing” with today. I don’t like the deal. The deal is that my kid is sick and I’ve been praying for him for 5 years. Today he’s sicker than ever. The doctors don’t know what’s wrong and God seems silent. I’m sad and I’m losing hope.
I have a prayer I’ve been saying for even longer. My mom has been sick for decades. She’s way worse off than she was when I first started asking God to heal her. If God is good isn’t it logical (and right) that He should heal her? Shouldn’t He heal my kid? I don’t get the unanswered prayer thing today. I’m angry and I’m angry with God today.
I guess I’ve got some healing to do too. Somehow I have to figure out who God really is in this mess. In my mind I know that He is still powerfully present in the bad stuff, but today my heart isn’t cooperating with my mind. I’m hurt by God today. I have a wound that needs to mend. I need to go to Him and ask him, “Why.” I need to work my way back to the place where I can trust Him again, trust the deal and heal.
I’ve started a new painting. I plan to spend tomorrow afternoon working it through to the finish. I’m kinda avoiding it right now because I need some time to sidle up to it. I’m sad and angry and I don’t want to wrestle with those issues too deeply just yet. I need the space between me and God today. I’m just not ready for Him yet.
My under painting is just complete. A large eye reveals itself with a 30mg tablet as its pupil. This is the latest tablet that the doctor thought would help my kid but didn’t. The iris of the eye looks back at me and says (with etched in words), “But I had hoped.” It speaks of all the things I have hoped for and am still holding onto hope for. Behind the eye is a fire: a metaphor for what is destroying my mom, eating away at my kid and causing pain for me and those I love. Darkness will surround the entire image. Today my art isn’t happy at all.
My daughter has seen this work in progress and she says that next time I need to paint something happy. I know she’s right. The next opportunity I feel led to celebrate all the things that are right in my life needs to be taken advantage of. Meanwhile, I think it’s important to grapple with the sadness I feel, grapple with God and find peace with today’s challenges. Finishing my painting always helps me do that. It’s why I’m making art today and will be making it tomorrow.
I have become more intentional about making art, and writing about my art, as a means for soothing and regenerating my own soul. I make sure I continue to share my work because when I give away pieces of myself (by letting others see my art and know the story behind it) I find the pieces of myself being put back together. This is a wonderful surprise I believe we can all find if we choose to share our journey creatively. Making and sharing my art (and my reasons for making my art) gives my story a uniquely personal voice that’s deeply spiritual, sacred and life changing (not just for me but for those who see my art too). It heals me and it heals others. It’s my purpose for sharing. Consider making it your purpose for sharing too: right here, right now. I’d like to hear your story. If we all share at least we’ll all know we’re not alone. Just that, in itself, is an invitation to heal.
But I Had Hoped