Friday, March 20, 2009

Beyond the Obvious Metaphor

Mosaics are an obvious metaphor for how God uses broken things to make beautiful things. I am keenly aware of it every time I work a piece. How God is conscious to the kind of pieces that belong together and for what purpose. How He sees a greater picture and brings it about. I find it easier to work mosaics in trying times because I tend to turn the shards, fit them, and puzzle them together while I puzzle out thoughts and situations.

So it's not surprising that these would be the result of my couple of weeks of musing.
The shell mirror has been languishing in the gallery for a long time and was actually one of the first things I made. But it had a mirror inside, which got scratched in the process of making it. It was just not a good piece of glass in the first place. So I decided to try something different...I made chalkboard paint with a bit of brown paint left over from my bedroom. I love the way the color brings out the brown and pink in the shells. I then added even more shells to the frame, bulking it up a bit. I'm honestly going to have a hard time parting with this piece, I love it so much. The architecture of the shells is amazing. To think that God would form such homes for the smallest and most unglamorous sea creatures...

I then altered the long wooden tray with a mirror and the remaining shards from the Double Springs Pottery to compliment the other mirror I made last week. It makes me think of rocks in the bottom of a creek, like this painting by local artist George Dombek.

As I pieced things together, I pieced in my mind.

On Monday, I realized that I don't have any emotional baggage. Not that I've had baggage and overcame it. I literally have none. I'm like an emotional albino. I've got nothing. No unkind hand has ever been laid on me. I've been cherished and valued and honored in my formative relationships. Tragedy has gone off like a bomb around me, but never close enough to leave me shell-shocked. The realization had me feeling like
the character in M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable who comes to the knowledge that he is a super-hero. It's a kind of guilty, freaktitude. I tried to blog about it then, but I was still staring at the thought, unsure what to make of it.

Simultaneously, I was sifting through the things that have come to my ears this week...much I can't write about, but picture my sister and brother-in-law's adoption tragedy-in-process as the tip of the iceberg. Bombs are going off in the backyards of my friends.

So many broken pieces to turn and puzzle in my mind.

I listened on Tuesday to Rob Bell's continuing Lenten teaching from Lamentations. From the last one I heard, I embraced lamenting for the sadness around me. I embraced just feeling sad and not trying to escape the mourning that is part of being human in a broken world. While listening to this weeks "New Skirts" this teaching, I glued some of the pieces down.

I've confessed in the past to watching Grey's Anatomy. Last season was horrific. It was as if the writers were making bets as to who could throw in the most trash. The overwhelmingly negative response got them back on track this year, bringing back the irony we all liked in the first place. Robb fell asleep before he could render his one allowed "this show is so stupid." It wasn't stupid last night. There were some very redemptive things about it. Namely, that when somebody is hurting, they need love. They need community. The characters in Grey's are flawed and cartoonish at's only TV after all. But the man with half a face is not unlike most people in our churches....they are terribly aware of their deformity and terribly afraid that nobody will love them back to health.

The God-shaped vacuum inside us is sometimes filled with God-shaped people.

I don't have baggage. I've come to believe this week that I don't have it, so I can help other people carry theirs. My husband's comes first. Protecting my kids from acquiring much comes second. And after that, I am free to help you with yours. I want to help you piece it together.


H said...

Maybe we could hold eachothers.......

and I fell like a shallow bitch for blogging about swimsuits.

ness said...

tee hee...

there is nothing shallow about swimsuits. Maybe I do have baggage after all.

Heidi said...

Lamentations has been amazing hasn't it.

Anonymous said...

This resonated with me. I think one key thing is initiation. As you said, God shaped people fill us; that means that we bear one another’s burdens. I don’t think that means when it is convenient. I don’t think that means at our leisure. I don’t think that means when it feels good. I think, actually, that more often than not, it means loving someone through pain at the most annoying moments in our schedules. I was saying to a friend, just last night, that Facebook has ruined us. We jot down a twelve character message and feel as though we have checked in. I am so guilty of checking off my duties to people I love by just scrawling a note on their virtual lives. It breaks my heart how many times I just took the easy road. That is fine for those of us that us that medium of communication. But for others that don’t- it can be damaging.
I love, in Lars and the Real Girl, the women who just sit. Rob Bell says it best, “we are neither angels nor animals.” We can’t exist with only spiritual relationships. That is why it was so pivotal for God to become Flesh. Community. Presence. Sharing life. I don’t think that Facebook falls into any of those. Maybe as a means of initiation, but I don’t know if it solves for being present in each other’s lives. Sometimes we just need to come and sit. Sometimes we need to make a meal. Sometimes we need to go see a musical with inappropriate puppet conduct.
I have been learning this need for others, as of late. It is a disarming thing to have to admit that maybe, just maybe, I need people in my space to heal. I don’t like that. I’d rather do it my damn self! God knows what He is doing though. I can’t live like and angel.

bosqeaux said...

too bad you don't have baggage. you can blame alot of bad behavior on it.

and jasmine, i agree
facebook stinks...and i love lars and the real girl.

Jess said...

What a wonderful post Ness. To quote you, it was lovererly. Could you write next about protecting our children from baggage? I'm overwhelmed with this prospect.

akr said...

It is a good feeling when you don't have baggage for a few a breath of fresh air.

stephanie garcia said...

I know none of the details of this situation, but the words "adoption tragedy-in-process" break my heart and bring tears to my eyes. I am so sorry to hear this and pray God might work a miracle for them!

Life with Kaishon said...

This resonated with me. Such a perfectly written post. Thank you. This was just what I needed to read today.

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