About Jesus. I finished a collage in my journal months ago that I didn't put on my website because I was slightly embarrassed by it. It has Akiane Kramarick's portrait of Jesus in it; it has feathers and stars; it has my attempt at drawing a horse (which remains the hardest animal in the world for me to draw); and as Twon laughed and pointed out while chewing on an apple, it looks like the 1978 funk album cover, Bootsy? Player of the Year --Bootsy's Rubber Band. I gave up and have let it sit out on my desk to collect dust.

I've realized that lately I've wanted to skirt around Jesus' name. It's not a fear of mine to share my faith. I just don't like to give the impression that I have it all together or that I can always see Him or find Him-- because I can't. I absolutely beg Jesus sometimes to show me His face or to feel something. I'd rather write about my attempt to use sunless tanner as a form of eye shadow even though the packaging specifically tells you to not use it around your eyes than to give you an impression otherwise. 

The last week I've felt guilty, drained, manipulative for attention. Bill Johnson, a pastor that I respect, once said "self-promotion is exhausting -- and (paraphrasing here) ...essentially if you are doing it, you're doing something wrong." I feel like I've been walking that line not just with my artwork but with people and with myself.

We're taught in church about tithing and the first fruits of money but I've been thinking about the first fruits of time. Most days recently I've done anything and everything to please someone, look a little bit better, get a 'like' button, follow-through on a promise that I shouldn't have made, and then wondered why I haven't gotten any artwork done and why I feel a little gross at the end of the day. As I wrote in my non-public journal last night, "I'm exhausted and don't know much of how to deal with it other than ask for forgiveness and try again."

The 'Jesus' collage began after I got a massage. Erin, the masseuse, was a friend of a friend and I had never been to her home. We talked through most of the massage. The last ten minutes, she unexpectedly began to pray over me as she was finishing up. I was on my stomach on the massage table with my face squished between the padding of the circular head support and I started to cry.

I had stubbornly been trying to hold it together for awhile even though I hadn't felt consistently well for over a year. Afterwards, she quietly walked to the door, told me her family was going to a dinner party, and for me to lock the door behind me whenever I was ready to leave. 

After she left, I self-consciously propped myself halfway up on my elbows and I saw a cardinal sitting on the outside windowsill looking directly at me. He stayed longer than most birds will when they realize that they are being watched and he weirdly looked familiar to me. When I got home, I realized it was Akiane's painting of Jesus. There was something about the shadows and angles of his dark beard, eyebrows, and nose in the painting that looked like the cardinal. I collaged through it and put it away.  

Last night, I had another 'Hope' dream (for the first two dreams, you can read here). This time, I wanted to buy a girl named, 'Hope,' a gift. I was shopping in a small store and I found a pair of thick, wool socks for her and also a leather satchel that had a ship and a cardinal on it. She would have two choices: to either carry the purse or to cut out the image of the cardinal/ship to put on the wall.

When I woke, I didn't think much about the dream or this old collage but when I started writing about coloring my gray hairs with a black Sharpie marker and the sunless tanner and knew that I was supposed to be writing about something else, I was reminded of it. 

My life was changed when I accepted Jesus. He washed my feet clean. I can choose to remember that, hope in that and insulate that with thick socks. I can choose to take a moment with a cardinal which may mean nothing to anyone else or freak someone out if they think I'm saying cardinals are Jesus and shelve it or share it even if it means sharing some pics of a collage that I've felt is a little dorky.

I don't always know the best route of letting people in on what I'm doing without feeling like, "look at me... look at this." I don't know what I'm doing most of the time, but I hope to come to understand this verse more.

ISAIAH 9:6 "For us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  

Laura GueninComment