One or two people have noted the dark motif that has crept into my artwork over the last month, that of the dark brooding Spirit, in the shape of a bird in flight. It is a dark motif, a bringer of change hovering over creation, hovering over our lives, it is a powerful motif, one that has taken flight and is watching over us and weaving all that we are, highlighting the beauty but also drawing forth a deepness that is enabled by repentance (turning) and lament.
In many ways this Spirit has been with me through my Sabbatical, and has begun to emerge more and more as I think through and write out what has been going on in me, and through the 75 drawings I have created. The Sabbatical is on pause now, I have another month to take and will be doing that in February 2020, and I am allowing the gifts of the first part to settle and emerge. It was certainly reflections on sabbatical that brought about the decision to be open and honest with others about my sexuality, some knew others didn’t, and that was beginning to feel somewhat disingenuous, if to nobody else but myself. The motif of the brooding Spirit gave me room to grieve and lament, but also to remember the many gifts that life has brought me.
We all like to hear good news stories, but sometimes those are just not the stories we need to tell, and sometimes the good news only emerges after a good deal of shadow work, encountering the self we hide from or would rather not encounter, owning at times the truth that you could have acted differently can be hugely challenging, and also humbling. I allowed myself to tell my story, and that has emerged through the medium of chalk pastels onto which the image of the brooding Spirit has crept! I welcome her recreative work within me.
So this week I chose to tell a part of my story, and have been overwhelmed by the responses and support that I have received, there has been some criticism of course, some feel I should have remained silent, others feel that the way that I have chosen to do so is not appropriate, though short of hosting a very large part and making an announcement, which would not have been good for my introverted soul, I don’t really know what more I could have done. To those who have been offended I can only apologise, and offer a conversation, I have made that offer anyway. I am always happy to have a coffee with people!
So why did I tell it? To offer good news, good news that we are all acceptable and that all of our stories are valid, I find that I often find God at work in me through the stories of others, and am profoundly grateful for that. The Bible itself is a collection of stories, of people meeting people grappling with who God is, of God in skin, of the Spirit at work, of doubts and fears, and joys and celebrations. There is a thought that our lives are the same, and through sharing our life stories we encourage and inspire one another. I hope that I can do that, and pray that I can continue to do that as I continue to allow the Spirit to hover over me in recreative power, and to draw our her gifts and graces as she sees fit.