The paintings and photos I use here are chosen in two ways. Usually, I write something or find a quote, and then look for a picture to help illustrate the point.
Occasionally, however, I find the picture first. Which is what happened today. I am amazed at how this newly discovered painting has grabbed my imagination and even led me into prayer (God can truly use anything). Frederic Leighton surely had no idea, when he painted "The Painter's Honeymoon" in 1864, that a woman 150 years later would find his work leading her into meditation on ways of God...
The more I looked at this work of art, the more pulled in I actually was. I immediately saw the man as representing Christ. The scene could be taking place in Eternity, perhaps when the woman ("I," in this case) had just arrived.
"See? This is what I have been doing," He might be saying. "All that time when you were struggling, suffering, worrying. Just look at the beauty I have drawn from that. Notice how I've blended light into the shadows. Your life would not have been a work of art without the dark spots, which, as you can see here, have given form and texture to the whole. Notice how your life blends into all that I'm still doing. See how I continue to work, to contour, merging the decisions you made and the paths you took into what's going on with your descendants and their friends and, indeed, the whole world."
"The whole world?" I ask. He looks at me then, and does not say a word. In His eyes is the answer. Of course. Each life affects the others, in ways people could never imagine.
HE is the One Who can see the WHOLE whole picture. HE is Creator, "Painter," Author. He is King, Savior, Teacher, Healer, Messiah, Bridegroom. He is the Alpha and Omega. He alone is Lord of all.
"In the beginning was the Word; the Word was in God's presence, and the Word was God... through Him all things came into being, and apart from Him nothing came to be." (John 1:1-2)
"We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His decree." (Romans 8:28)
"Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then, we shall see face to Face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)
sucking in a gasp at the beauty of this...the emotions it brings....ReplyDelete
LOVE you blog!!
Allison, thank you so much! I am glad Our Lord has touched BOTH of us by using this striking painting.Delete
Absolutely beautiful. I love your blog too. Simple, yet so powerful. Thank you!ReplyDelete
What kind words, Kathleen - thank you.Delete
I have seen this painting before, but never in this way. Thank you for sharing your vision of it and for your beautiful reflection along with it. Yes, God certainly can use anything to draw us to Him.
Karinann, I had never seen this painting before today. It is amazing, isn't it, how God uses everything and anything to get our attention?Delete
This is beautiful, Nancy. I thought of the saying "God writes straight with crooked lines" when I read this. If we trust Him the result is a masterpiece. Even our flaws are worked into the greater picture.ReplyDelete
Mary, yes... "if we trust Him"... those are the key words, I think. Thank you!Delete
Wow! Love the painting...love your thoughts...I immediately saw him as Christ too. Such a beautiful, intimate moment. Thank you for sharing...do this some more okay? ((hugs))ReplyDelete
The painting continues to strike me so much that I think I'll print it for myself... in glowing black and white! (I have a pre-blogging-days black and white printer). Thank you so much, Theresa,for your encouragement!Delete
I love how close she is sitting to Him and how they are holding hands. How intimate He is with us! Beautiful painting and beautiful reflection! I am moved.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing your insight and your faith in both this blog and in the Cloistered Heart! Receiving your posts in my email inbox is a highlight of my days!
Anne, I just started responding to you in this space and it became BLOGPOST LENGTH! So I'm coming back to let you and anyone seeing this know that the following is practically - no, IS - a whole new post. And here's what I said (and said, and said....):Delete
I actually came across this painting by going to Wikimedia Commons and searching for "holding hands" (or something like that). When I saw this painting, however, whatever thoughts I'd had immediately evaporated.
I have, for more than 24 hours now, continued my ponderings on this painting, and now am seeing it also as Jesus giving me a little glimpse (while I'm still in this earthly life) into what He is CURRENTLY doing.
I see Him working steadily with His right hand, while gently using His left to assure me, so tenderly, that He IS accomplishing His plans. I can't help but notice that the woman looks "ghostly" (at least to me). I thought today that in order for this scene to be "happening now," it would be Our Lord Who would look "otherworldly." And then it hit me that: no! For this is being seen from HIS perspective! We are not in the fullness of Eternity yet. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz movie, we will one day pass from a black and white world into colors we have never imagined possible.
It strikes me that recent posts here have been about the call to every one of us to sainthood, to being with God forever. I can imagine Him saying: "See? This is what I am doing. I Am Your Savior. I am making you Real. I am making you a saint."
Thank you, Anne. And thanks to you and all my other fellow Velveteen Saints (this in reference to the book The Velveteen Rabbit), for reading a blogpost in a comment box!!!
Um. I think my blogger's block is gone.
Thank you for this blogpost comment, Nancy. Very insightful! Your reflections on this painting remind me of Henri Nouwen's book "The Return of the Prodigal Son." He spent days and days just sitting in front of Rembrandt's painting, pondering it from every angle and sharing his thoughts. It is one of my favorite books. I'm sure you could do the same thing with this painting-there is so much to reflect upon and you do it so beautifully! Could you turn this blog post into a book? Whether or not you do, I am blessed by your reflection here. Thank you so much for sharing your insight!Delete
I think this post is becoming a book right before our very eyes, right here on this blog :), and it's being written by ALL of us! Thank you for another generous comment. I haven't seen that particular book by Henri Nouwen, but it sounds most intriguing. I continue to be amazed at how new things keep popping out of this scene for me... I'm sure that's what happened for Nouwen. Today I am struck by his Hand so gently covering hers. It seems so tender and reassuring. And as long as she keeps pressing in really close to Him, her other hand lies relaxed. But if she were to move away, she might be like I am so often, trying to "help" the pencil He moves steadily along...Delete
This is so very touching!ReplyDelete
The devotion of the wife who seems almost on the verge of being of being absorbed into her beloved, and the crossed feet of her husband which reminds me of Calvary gives me much to meditate on.
Your insights are beautiful and edifying, Nancy.
Thank you so much!
Trish, I am so glad you shared what you noticed about the crossed feet. That had not occurred to me, and now it gives me (as well as you) another rich point for meditation.Delete
I also love what you noted about the wife being almost on the verge of being absorbed into the Husband. Is that not absolutely perfect?!! THANK YOU for your insights.
Meg, thank you so very much!Delete
Oh what a joy to have found you, Nancy, almost four years after this particular post was written. I found your name via "littlecathoilcbubble" and have been perusing your "letters" for a few minutes every chance I get since yesterday. This one has stopped me and l am savoring all the good stuff contained within "it" and the "comments'.ReplyDelete
The past year and a half of my life has been filled with God's maneuvering things around in a most uncomfortable
way and this reflection reminds me that I need not know all of the "whys and wherefores", but have to just trust. Thank you, Nancy. (And thanks to our Sweet Lord for the intersection of our paths crossing at this time.)
Marge, thanks be to God for His timing... and thank you for letting me know you're "here!"Delete