Some people have epiphanies.
Some people have “aha!” moments.
Since I am not particularly normal, I have “duh!” moments.
Thursday morning, I had a, “duh!” moment, but the groundwork for this epiphany was laid the night before. I had decided to take down some artwork that, though not bad in itself, held some bad energy for me. I couldn’t look at them and not feel badly. It was more about who painted them than the subject matter and it was time to take them down and not look at them any longer.
Keep in mind at this point I was in the middle of a week of insomnia, and usually my dreams (if I fall asleep) are bizarre and I can hardly function during the day, but I usually have some moment of clarity woven into the chaos of sleeplessness that I’ve learned to embrace. I know that God often gets my attention when I am completly at the end of myself… and when I haven’t had a good amount of sleep over a few days’ time, I come to the end of myself quickly.
I was inspired by my desire to let go of something. So was my roommate. After ridding myself of the bad energy paintings, I was in the mood to shed more “baggage” as it were. I began to look around for other items to pass on or throw away.
At the top of the stairs I had another painting that I decided needed to be out of my life. This painting wasn’t full of bad energy, I just felt it had served it’s purpose and it was time to pass it on.
Hardly what most would consider “art,” the painting was of a big blue teardrop with a peachy/orange background. Inside the tear was a person kneeling. I have no idea who painted it, but it was given to me by someone who noticed that every time I saw it, my gaze fixated on it and I always found it difficult to walk away from.
I acquired this painting the year after my brother died and the year before my mother died. I was grieving in ways I couldn’t comprehend and when I looked at the painting, I felt God telling me to be obedient and seek Him in my grief.
At the point I received this painting, I did not know my mother was going to die. I had no idea how much grief I would still have to work through. All I knew is that this painting reminded me daily to seek God despite it all. I put it at the top of the stairs so I would have to see it every day. Somehow, this painting really spoke to me and even caused me to delve deeper into my creative resources to create art that would be an outpouring of myself and maybe even be a lifeline to others.
All from a simple painting… painted by someone I didn’t know.
I have a friend I’ll call Annie, who is going through a deep depression and just recently lost her favorite family pet. So, now she’s depressed and grieving, a state of being I know all too well. The feelings are mostly behind me but recent enough that when I look at Annie I wish I could wipe those feelings away, but I know that right now she needs to learn to deal with them and push them away herself. Another feeling I know all too well.
When I looked at the teardrop Wednesday night, I saw Annie in the middle of it and I knew it was time to let this painting speak to someone else. I made the decision to give it to her and then I went to bed.
Notice I didn’t say, “and then I went to sleep,” because I didn’t. I couldn’t. My medication wouldn’t let me. So I went to bed. Finally, I slept between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., maybe. It wasn’t necessarily restful. When I woke up, I kept imagining the painting I was going to give to Annie.
And then it hit me.
I have looked at this painting every day for over three years. Each time, I’ve felt something different, seen something different, but mostly I’ve just been reminded to be obedient in my grief. Anybody else who looked at the painting probably saw what I discovered in the painting the first time they looked at it.
While laying in bed early Thursday morning, I realized that tear was sliding down God’s face. God has been grieving with me the entire time, and though I knew that in my head, the knowledge had not filtered down into my heart to the point where I felt it.
And that’s when I said aloud, “Duh!” I felt the burden of grief lift from me as I let myself absorb the reality that God has grieved with me through all of the difficult times I’ve faced the last five years.
I cried for about an hour, grateful that God can show me things when I’ve had no sleep, when I’m at the end of myself, or when I just don’t get it.
I know what it’s like to feel completely abandoned while surrounded by people and I was not surprised when Annie said that she had prayed that morning and cried out to God, feeling that nobody cared. When I gave the painting to Annie, she just cried. I told her it was hers to have as long as she needed it and then she could pass it on.
When I look at the top of the stairs and see the empty spot where the teardrop used to be, I see a blank canvas, full of possibilities. I have no idea what we’ll put there, if anything, but I hope it’s something that will bring me to another “duh!” moment.