In Newport, Oregon, there is a set of docks just for the sea lions/seals. There are maybe 50 or more sealions there. I don’t know all the difference between harbor seals and sealions. At Yaquina Head there are harbor seals that looked lighter, grey and smaller than the ones we saw in Newport on the docks. The ones at Yaquina head were also quieter, lazily soaking up the sunshine until their rocks were getting covered with water.
While we were enjoying the antics of the noisy Newport sealions, an umbrella from a nearby restaurant went sailing off on the wind to land in the water 20 feet from the seals. As the sealions saw it flying toward them, they went ballistic, vociferously scrambling to get away from the “flying monstrosity.” Most were in the water trying to peer over the docks at the umbrella – barking as if they were questioning each other: “what is it?” “I don’t know.” “Do you know what it is?” “Is it dangerous?” “Did you see that? It fell from the sky.”
None of the sealions were brave enough to go closer to it. Some ventured back onto the docks, but most stayed in the water on the far side of the dock, barking their displeasure with mysterious flying and now sailing objects. Any time it floated closer the storm of barking and frantic movements escalated.
I don’t know if the sealions resolved their situation. We left before the sealions had acclimated to the new norm.
I am sometimes like that…letting my fears take over and control my actions. I am more afraid of failure than of the unknown, but it is still a fear that influences my actions. I laugh at the seals. I can see it is only an umbrella. My own fears seem large and monumental to me. From a different perspective, are my fears really just an umbrella. How can I see them from God’s perspective, can I let go and trust him.
Isaiah 43:1-3 says…
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I am his. His own. I belong to him. He invites me into his embrace. From the security of his embrace, can I face my fears? Yes, for he is with me, he comforts me and protects me.
(painting: I am loved, acrylic, 20 in x 24 in)
I am Loved ((2009 - Julie Drew)
I am loved
even in my sin...I am loved.
Pour Your Spirit on me
cleanse me, wash me
wash away my sin,
wash me clean,
white as snow,
make me whole,
to serve You,
to serve others.
I cannot contain this love.
Let it flow from me and touch others:
As You have forgiven me
may I forgive others.
Let it flow like a river
this pouring of Your Spirit into my spirit.
Let it flow like a river
giving life where it goes
to keep it for myself
it would stagnate
but to share it gives life.
I am loved.
Empty Nest, Winter of my Soul
New things come, old things pass.
It is hard to let go.
It is hard to say good-bye to what was,
Treasured moments; the good, the bad
letting go is part of living.
It is part of loving.
There will be new beginnings;
Such is the circle or spiral we live in.
We cannot hold on to the present.
It must fly
And the empty nest
is the memory we have left.
we take it for granted,
we turn on the tap,
we let the water run,
we can do what we want,
the snow didn't come?
the spring rains failed to come?
the river ran dry?
we used up the aquifer?
it didn't rain because we cut down the trees?
the prairie became a dessert for lack of rainfall?
fires burned up the forests because everything was so dry?
we used up our water to irrigate water needy plants in hot, dry locations, where water quickly evaporates?
we used it up to make endless amounts of things in factories from computers to make-up?
we used it to push up the oil out of the oil sands, creating sledge that can kill birds?
It doesn't matter...
Or is it?
the essence of life;
we cannot live without it.
We are drawn to it:
the roaring of the surf,
the lapping at the edge of a lake,
cascading down the mountainside,
running and tripping down a river,
a trickling brook.
It delights our hearts,
washing over us,
reaches down inside our souls,
the living water,
the Spring of Life
in Him we have life.
Come, all who are thirsty
Come and drink.
One of the painting exercises we did at the Art and Faith Retreat on Feb 5-7 was listen to the Tapestry Poem by Corrie ten Boom and respond with a drawing.
A response painting is a painting or drawing based on your own personal response to an event, a song, another painting as as in this case a poem. We all have responses or feelings to the events, people and things around us. Some of us are better at hiding those from others, even from our selves. This little excercise engages that part of ourselves we may not be aware of. It only takes about 15 - 20 minutes and you can use whatever materials you have on hand (paper & pencil, pen, markers, crayons, paint, clay, playdough etc.)
Instructions (read them through before beginning):
1) Read the poem, "Life is But a Weaving" in the image at the top of this page, out loud 2-3 times.
2) Let the poem sink in, let images come as you read.
3) Then draw, paint or create your response using images, color, lines, shapes - whatever seems right to you.
4) After you are finished, take a picture of your response and send it with a little explanation of what you were thinking of as you created it to julie(at)shedrewit.com.
With your permission, I will post it here with the others from the retreat.
When I read the old testament – particularly the prophets I see this God with an achingly Big Heart yearning for his people to “turn to him and live” (Amos 5). God doesn’t ‘need us,’ but he does long for a relationship with us. He went so far as to die for us.
I was thinking of this as I read Psalm 13:1 – “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Does God ever wonder that about me? The following “conversation” is the result of that wondering…
How long, my daughter, will you turn away from Me and go your own way?
When will you trust Me with all of yourself?
Don’t you know how much I long to hold you as I walk with you?
I am right here next to you; don’t you see me? Can’t you feel my presence?
When will you let Me lift the burden from your shoulders?
Let me enfold you in My embrace. I have loved you since before you were born. I knit you together in your mother’s womb. I know your past, I know your present and I know your future.
Won’t you let go and trust me?
Oh my Lord and Father, I want to trust you, I do. I just don't know how to let go. Why do I keep wanting to take control?
Oh my child, it is fear that keeps you from trusting me. In order to trust me you need to let go of your fear. You hold onto it like armor, yet it is full of holes and lies. Your fear and your ego tell you that only you can solve or achieve what is before you. This is not true. Open your eyes to My truth, I am the way, I am your life. Walk with me. Let me show you who you really are, whom I made you to be.
I am afraid, Lord.
I know. That is the point, my child. Let me hold your hand. We will do this together. Trust Me.
How many times have you done this, Lord, given me the courage to walk into your trust, holding your hand? Too many to count. Yet I have to be reminded to trust each time. Oh how stubborn I can be. How do you have patience for me?
Oh my child, I am patient because I love you and I delight in in you. You are mine and I will hold you fast.
Take my hand.
The first excericise in our Art, Vocabulary for the Soul retreat this last weekend, we responded to the question: "How do you find rest?" Next we traded paintings, and in the second excercise we painted a second painting as a response to the painting we had been given. These two exercises together help us focus on two key ideas of the retreat, listening and trusting the process. We listened to ourselves in the first exercise, and we listened to the painting of another in the second exercise. Painting is always a process, we don't know the end from the beginning. Each painting is a journey with much for us to observe both in the painting and ourselves along the way. The journey continues as another responds to our painting, and as we respond to another's painting. The story begins in one person's heart and continues in another's, and the process of God's work in us weaves through it all.
The paintings and poem below (or to the right) show how intricately the whole process can work. The first painting, by Sam Drew, is a tree in fall with all the leaves in beautiful colors fallen or falling to the ground. (We use finger painting and tempera paints for our Friday evening exercises so there is less emphasis on precision in painting, and more on just letting the images out) For Sam this tree in fall was an image of rest. The second painting, just below the first, was the "response painting" by Ruth. The leaves of Sam's painting stood out to her, and she drew just one leaf, resting gently on the ground.
The process continued in Sam's heart as he listened for God's word for him during the weekend. Both paintings, the beautiful scenery of King's Fold, the scriptures, and the idea of resting mixed together in his spirit, and he tried to let God's Spirit sort it out. The poem below, took shape in that process, and Sam shared it at our time of worship and sharing on Sunday afternoon.
A Leaf in the Wind - Sam Drew
All my life
has been about
that maybe it is not.
I know the wind,
or I thought I did,
often it blew through the valley,
and we felt
its warm breath of gentleness,
or crisp, cool freshness,
or harsh unpredictable strength.
We enjoyed the wind
or endured the wind
from the shelter of the tree,
connected to the tree.
The tree is the source of
warmth and care,
The wind is
at times fearsome,
until, maybe it is not.
It did not pull so hard,
in just the right way,
in just the right places,
It wasn't even so much
that it pulled me away
all that I had held on to
for so long,
all that was so important,
all I knew
until it was not.
Until I trusted,
in the wind
and let go.
I don't know
where it comes from,
I don't know
where it goes.
I am a leaf in the wind.