Feast AND Famine on the Canvas of Life


A few weeks ago, I posted a story about losing my father. The next week I wrote about my husband’s loss of employment and the loss of our house. I didn’t post that story. Too much talk of loss too often. Not that life isn’t like that. “One thing after another” is one of the truest of truisms. There’s also a true grace in life – man’s ability to remember, reflect, and process circumstances after the fact. Can you imagine NOT being blessed with the ability to think upon and reason about past events? It would be like a farmer going out to harvest after a drought. We would be in a constant state of famine without any way of overcoming it.

It seems to me that the working through and overcoming part is the key, because famine of some sort seems to be a constant. We say “feast OR famine,” but we usually experience “feast AND famine.” We have daily disappointments small and large. We lose fathers, jobs, houses…in my case we mostly recently lost our cat. Famine is emptiness, but it’s also anticipation. (See the poem I wrote during my husband’s period of unemployment at the end of this posting.) Moreover, famine prepares us for the feasts.

Right after that period of famine a couple of months ago, I visited (thanks to the generosity of my sister-in-law) my brother and his family in the Virginia/Washington, D.C. area. When was the last time you were surrounded by so much beauty that watery eyes and a lump in your throat were inevitable? I found that what the Creator has designed in the valley of the Potomac, the grassy rolling hills and the abundant trees is breathtaking. So, too, is what He enabled the created to conceive – the architecture and monuments that beautifully enhance His natural creation. I was especially in awe when I toured (twice!) the National Gallery of Art.

I entered The Gallery (a stunning work of art in itself) with heightened senses. I had been teaching an art appreciation class to a group of co-op students. The knowledge of much of the artwork and the artists’ lives was fresh on my mind. The masterpieces before me were a visual feast for my eyes and my soul. I was actually within reach of the canvases that hold the ingeniously applied paint…that came from the brushes…that were held by the hands of…Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Duccio, Van Eyck, Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Kandinsky, Pollock, et al!

A feast of art – of nature – of history – of time with my brother’s family! I don’t think it would have tasted so good had I not been so hungry.

“Blank Canvas”

Standing before the milky blank canvas
which seems happy with its state
Fighting the temptation to wrestle
the brush from Your hand
Yearning to help with a fledgling start
on the work that will unfold
Laying my inferior, novice tools
at the feet of Hope and Faith
Waiting for what I dare not imagine
lest I lust for my own design
Being content to walk away
and check on the progress later

(More of my DC photos are in my photo gallery.)

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