Courage Unparalleled

This journey of making art for Advent has been an illuminating one for me, as I take time to be with the images of people who are a part of my very lifeblood and discover how their stories are precisely my own story.  Sometimes this commitment of making art means just showing up and allowing whatever unfolds to happen, even if it doesn’t feel as done or revealing as some of the other art I have been making. Such is the case with the piece above, it is only a waystation to something else, but I decided that if I didn’t finish a piece one day, I would share the process here so you would know that there are times when I sit and wait as well. Showing up to the art materials is my way of saying “Yes.”

But I will share a little secret, I actually have finished another piece.  It is about my father who was a very wounded man and thus passed along many wounds to his little girl.  She found the courage over the years to heal many of them, but she is surprised to discover how some of them still throb deep below the surface. The piece I have made is definitely not a “pretty” one and I will share it here in a few days after I have had time to sit with it.  I was really inspired by lucy’s post this morning, a fairy-tale style retelling of a part of her story.  I think that is part of the invitation here for me, to tell this story in a way that I can begin to make more sense of and say a deeper yes to this important part of myself.  For this I need more courage than I think I have, but I have surprised myself many times before.

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

(technical details: wooden 6×6″ panel coated with light molding paste, tissue paper glued on with gel medium, white pearlescent acrylic ink drizzled on, gold pigment powder sprinkled, then a little blend with my finger)

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks so much for both of you for the wonderful support. I love the image of God seducing us lucy, reminds me of process theology that talks about God luring us forward. Suz, I know this is a sacred journey of its own and I keep to the path because I know its the only choice I have. I saw my spiritual director today and told him all this family systems work takes a lot of time and could be full-time work, and he replied wisely, it is really your only work.

  2. Right, lucy…I think we are transformed…and nothing is ever the same…we have taken a stop into becoming more of our true self. Just like the Velveteen Rabbit in the children’s story, we have been worn and tattered and battered and are Beoming Real.

    Christine…thank you for sharing part of your journey with us. I also had a deeply wounded father and, as the only daughter, I inhereited his wounds. It has taken years to overcome them but it has been a journey of truth and grace. I am not sure I would have found what is sacred and holy in my life without experiencing this wounding.

    I am beginning to think it is a good thing to surprise ourselves with our courage and
    our vulnerability…especially when the space in which we share is safe and sacred.

  3. i had never read this levertov poem before. it is fabulous & speaks deeply to me! yes…the courage to say yes. it reminds me of one of my texts from school called, “seduction, surrender & transformation.” showing up at the page is a form of “yes”, but i also believe it could be called seduction toward moving deeper into your story. the art, the creator, God seduces you toward deeper meaning. that precipice to move toward something different is for me where the “yes” comes…in the surrender. and then beautifully and magically, the transformation happens, because once we choose to say “yes”, we can no longer be who we were before. we are transformed.

    christine–i honor this journey that you are on & am delighted that i could provide a little light :-) upon your pathway (or at least a bit of inspiration). i look forward to hearing your “finished” piece…whatever that may mean. blessings to you on this feast day of St. Lucy! may we all see a little more clearly.

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