Mar 5, 2012

His Royal Blue Stole

Artist: S. Burns 1913

Light dawning 
far on the stormy horizon,
his royal blue stole; 
those always caught my eye first. 

I am the good shepherd; 
I know my sheep
and my sheep know me ~

John 10:14

I recall the painting hanging in the upstairs hallway at one time and then later... was it near her small secretary? A familiar portrayal of a favorite Psalm. Most likely a replication of an illustration found in a Bible. But the paint, the rich color of oil luster in rising ridges of brush strokes, the shade of blue, the bird of prey hovering overhead: all drew the eye and the heart into the the perilous moment of the shepherd’s determined rescue. 

It is a simple hand painted work, dated 1913. Found in an antique store somewhere up in the far north woods. Over decades of time, after the chain of legacy settled, this painting of my mother’s came to be mine. After more time and a maturing of my aesthetic sensibilities, hanging such an overtly religious painting in my home studio, became the right thing to do.

I have wondered, did mother see herself in this image as I see myself? 

Did she see herself just as I have clinging to the cliffs of life’s desperate moments; 

rocks slippery, body bruised, hands and feet cut, the struggle raging so long?   

I know she had her share of storms, as every life does. 

The Lord is my shepherd... I will fear no evil; for you are with me;
  Psalm 23: 1, 4

I know too, that she honed a deep faith across the years. Studying diligently, serving compassionately, and teaching faithfully. In sum I know it was faith that gave her the wisdom to lift her eyes in search of her Lord’s outstretched hand in every challenge. 

Knowing that, is precious knowledge,
as much a part of her legacy to me, as was this simple painting of faith. 
For the former I am bone deep, heart full, grateful.

Below; my recent recordings among the mounting pages that list the gifts bestowed on my life each day. Counted along with Ann and those linking at Holy Experience

920 mother’s legacy of faith, her example, the momentos passed down that evidence of her belief
924 laughter shared with daughter over her babies’ humorous antics
928 spring green, tender, new grass spreading across the earth
929 opportunity to kneel, bare my heart’s errors, receive grace

930 iris petals, lavender transparency against dusky light

...with humble gratitude to the Lord

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