27 October 2008

Resting

I looked at Oso in the car last night on our way home from church and asked, "Are we crazy?"

"No," he replied. "They are."

Ah, right. Resting isn't crazy, it's human. We're really not made to go from event to event without a break in the middle, or to push our sleep into slots so small that we can't keep our eyes open most of the day.

If you want to know about resting, I can tell you about resting. Recovering from the flu requires a lot of resting, and so I have rested myself silly these last couple of weeks. As I've rested, I've noticed just how odd it is, in our culture, to actually set aside time to be still.

It's so out-of-the-0rdinary that I know some people who've had what I had who just pushed through. I talked to some of them last night, and they kept working, dancing, driving, etc., all the way through the illness. When I first heard that, I felt like such a wimp. I mean, I couldn't hardly walk around my house with my 102.5 degree fever, let alone go to work. And I felt so tired after work last week that I didn't even make my own husband a birthday cake (he wasn't upset), let alone go shopping or dancing or hanging out with people. Sheesh.

And then, it was like I saw the change in me. Me, the girl who almost passed out in high school because she was so sick that the heat from the Bunsen burner flame made her dizzy...the same girl who rode horses for years even though she's allergic to them and they make her sick. Right. That was the girl who wanted to rest last week, who didn't go to the gym because it felt like too much for her lungs, even when her legs really, really wanted to go.

God is so good. Rest is so good for the soul. It's opened so much space for me to be and breathe and experience God's goodness. While choosing rest means that sometimes I choose to miss out on other things, it's so rich and deep and good that I can't help but think it's part of what we're meant for.

22 October 2008

*cough, cough*

Oh, my poor, neglected blog! Actually, I feel that way about a lot of things in my life right now...about everything, in fact, except the couch, the TV, and the political commercials.

I guess The Killer Flu will do that to you. Seriously, I haven't been as sick as I was last week (or had as slow a recovery as I'm having this week) since grade school. But I AM recovering. And once I find the energy to once again string thoughts together in sentences and paragraphs, I'll come back and do right by my blog and my blog friends, I promise. For now, though, I'm going to go get better.

08 October 2008

Painting and God

So, painting and spirituality, huh? I can do that.

Honestly, there aren't many paintings that move me, let alone grab my attention for more than 15 seconds as I walk by. The Mona Lisa was pretty much a disappointment, though that may have had more to do with the number of French schoolchildren surrounding her at the very moment I was trying to gaze into her elusive eyes than with my disposition toward the work. The Uffizi overwhelmed, and that National Gallery was nice, but honestly I'd rather look at the bits they stole from the Parthenon than color on canvas. I did see one painting, once, at the Getty Museum, that enthralled me, but I'd never seen it before, I've never seen it again, and I'm too ADD to remember the name and the artist without writing it down.

On the other hand, I find the act of painting entirely enthralling. There aren't many things I do where I lose track of the world around me (see abovementioned ADD tendencies). It just doesn't happen. But when I paint, it almost always happens. I forget about time and place and hunger and focus on what's before me, what it's becoming, and how I can help it get there.

When I paint, I give voice to the intuitive. Writing is similar, except that when I write, it has to at least break down into sentences and paragraphs with some kind of flow. Painting isn't like that. Color, line, form, symmetry, they're all a language that I can speak, though I couldn't tell you how. And my whole process is intuitive. Sometimes a painting will sit on my easel for months, until one day I look at it or I think about it just as I'm falling to sleep and suddenly I know what needs to be done next.

I don't know if this process connects me to God. A lot of artists say that it does, that when they're in that intuitive, idea-flowing zone, they feel close to him. I don't necessarily feel that way. Most of what I paint comes from me, from my eyes and my heart and my hands. On the other hand, I am giving voice to things that I don't usually say, that I might not even be able to say in words, and I think that honesty like that almost always brings us closer to him. I know that I learn more about myself, how I work and what I like and what lives inside, and that process is also true and brings me closer to knowing fully how he made me. I also learn that I can make mistakes, that they aren't the end of the world, that I can fix them and incorporate them and that they're not as scary as they seem, and I can't help but think that God wanted me to know that.

When I walk away from painting, it's almost always with an incredible sense of peace. It's not necessarily external, like something coming from God. I think it has more to do with having rested my usually-multitasking brain by focusing on one thing, and having somehow gotten put back into alignment with myself. I can't help but think that this is how he made us to function, doing things that bring us to ourselves, because those are the things that will ultimately lead us to him.