And So, We Paint

And So, We Paint

I have discovered the color of disquiet and it is Shell White.

Enamel, Flat, and Satin, SW8917 has left evidence of a troubling I cannot name… on the rim of my glasses, under my nails, and even on the half-inch hairs where “entirely bald” used to be [if you’re wondering, it’s mostly grey, the outgrowth of an upside-down world not somewhere out there but right here on my head].

Do you ever pace, vacuum, bite your nails when your body is trying to tell you that something’s not quite right? My reverent friends would say they drop to their knees.

I paint.

When I paint the thick of it goes everywhere including all over me. Conversely, I am a very good painter. The surfaces I’m after end-up extraordinary in detail. But there are casualties to my perfection—shirts, cats, floors, hair.

I’ve noticed lately how anxious I’ve become when I’m putting on my wig. It’s remarkable how we humans can set our minds to the endurance of some superhuman task but then, when it’s over, we collapse under the simplest challenges like cleaning the shower or pulling on our jeans. Apparently, my wig has become a visible reminder of the struggles going on somewhere unseen.

I write, not because I know something, but because I am waiting for it to be revealed. Writing is my process of revelation. We, you and I, are discovering in real time together what this disquiet is all about.

Here’s some of it—when I look in the mirror I am asking now, “Who do you want to be?” It isn’t possible to go through a life-altering six-month pilgrimage without sorting out the very real notion that all gone-through and lingering is intended for reinvention.

Re-Invention. I add the dash for extra emphasis on the back end of the word. Those who pray will tell you that our hunger to commune with our Creator is one of ten thousand confirmations that we were designed this way.

We were invented to long for something that can never sufficiently be defined. And so, we paint. Like some anguished offering we fill the tiny holes and whitewash the scuffs so that the signs of our own humanity, our imperfections are more opaque.

I am very good at making friends with difficulty, finding hope, even purpose in what others find impossible to endure. Perhaps that sounds “unhealthy” but for me it’s the only way to live. Here’s the part I struggle with admitting, even to myself:

Cancer and I became fast friends.
Isn’t it true that if you’re going to do anything you may as well do it right?

I’m not the one that will simply get on with her life. Oh, I will go forward but not without allowing the lesson to drench me in its message until I am soaked and weighted, until every ounce of what is necessary is absorbed.

What is the point of anything if we simply walk away and pretend—pretend it never happened, pretend as if it didn’t forever alter the way we love, the way we eat and breathe?

My heart is altered. There, I said it. So is my mind. I have learned that it’s possible to endure the hard thing with beauty and strength. But endurance is not the lesson, not my treasured take away. “To endure” makes me the victim and to this I will not submit.

What we experience, every little breath of it, is life-giving, sustenance, a gift.

How many of us are willing to step inside the cosmic framework of an unscripted moment and shift the momentum of the whole world merely by standing with the full weight of our personhood and agree?

We, you and I, are on a mission and sometimes that mission [or at least the title of it] isn’t exactly clear. What is as obvious as sunrise or clouds in the sky is the God of the Universe is up to something, not “out there” but right in front of us, even within us, when we are simply going about our day.

Do you feel the stirring? Let that disquiet make you bold. Let it move you to look left, to defy the ingrained patterns of always looking right.

It is not by accident that I am compelled to wash everything in white—the gap between the everyday and the supernatural is stretching increasingly thin. And there is this overwhelming holiness covering disappointment, agitation, everything in Him.

There are moments, even long-stretching anguishing seasons that may be whispering naysayers in the night, but there is a fresh thing coming that will awaken something unexpected in you. And when it does, believe it has come at just the right time.

Romans 12:12 - "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."
Psalm 27:14 - "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
2 Peter 3:9 - "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
Exodus 14:14 - "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Isaiah 30:18 - "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!"
2 Peter 3:8 - "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."
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