Sunday, April 3, 2016

Stranger in a strange land

Too much has happened over the past two years to even begin to describe how life is now. All I can say is I plan to make this my gratitude journal. Last year was a struggle. I haven't done much art...the piece on the blog is one of my last serious attempts at something new, something with an original style. The work is entitled "Hagar's Well". As I typed this I realized it could be read in two ways. The piece was done in 2014, and I had no idea then how much it would foreshadow coming events in my life. Now for a Bible history lesson-Hagar was Abraham's mistake.  Abraham was supposed to have a child by his wife Sarah, in their old age. But he couldn't wait, so Sarah gave him her Egyptian maid to have a child by, which she did. But things didn't quite turn out right. Hagar had Ishmael, the father of the Arab nations, and we don't need to get into how much trouble that is currently. Whoa, big mistake. Still God promised Hagar the same thing-her son would become a great nation.

What in the world does all of this have to do with gratitude to God? Sarah threw Hagar out of the tent when she got too uppity about her son being the supposed heir. She had no recourse except to go into the desert and wander with her young son. There was nothing there for her and basically it meant death. And then God was true to His promise and a well appeared to save them both. She was instructed to go back and serve her mistress, so just enough to make the trip back and survive. Sometimes it is just that cup of cold water that keeps us going.

I got that today. My confidence as of late has been just about zero creatively. I had carpal tunnel surgery and got diagnosed with dry eye. So concentrating for long periods and using my hands has become much harder. I can do it, but it doesn't feel natural any longer. All of the changes that happened the past year have also challenged me tremendously. Still, not a reason not to do art, but I feel completely rootless and unsure of what my place in life is these days. Much like Hagar. I needed direction, at least enough to get my strength and feet moving. I started reading (again) Rory Noland's book, The Heart of the Artist, about Christian artists and what should drive them. I was working in a town I didn't know anything about, and wanted to go to church on my lunch. There was a place on the corner near a client's home-I work in home healthcare-and I went. As soon as I walked in I noticed something you basically never see in a church. Original art displayed. What were the odds?? Seriously. I've been in a lot of churches. Then I found out the display was for Holy Week and only up once a year at that time. Again, what are the odds that was the time I'd be in this town, on this Sunday walking into a church I knew nothing about.

Thing about all this is, no matter where we are in life, no matter what we're doing, if we're seeking, we'll be found and provided a well. I simply cannot wrap my head around the love of God and His specific leading even if we are wandering. He is the Good Shepherd. He searches. He is the prodigal dad. He waits and then He runs to us. All that is left is to respond. Back to the tent and back to work.

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