“I shut my eyes in order to see” – Paul Gauguin
I am revisiting time spent with Annie again, because in seeing the artwork that she was creating the day that we had our conversation, something became clear to me.
I went to the Refine retreat with a knowledge that Annie would be there. That wasn’t my reason for going, but I was excited to meet her. I had long admired the artwork that I had seen her create and was excited to be able to meet this gifted soul.
On Friday night as the Spirit moved us to share what he was revealing to our hearts, Annie shared about an art form called ‘kintsugi‘ which is a Japanese art form of the restoration of broken pottery with gold seams, rendering that which was broken and unfit for use, back into something of greater beauty and superior usefulness.
That theme seemed to encompass much of our weekend, seeing where the pieces of our life in which we had been broken, were being pieced back into something that God would use for his great glory. And I could see the layers taking shape in lives, as they shared moments that they had been wounded and were working towards restoration, and where other stories, verses and lyrics shared seemed to overlap into a type of tapestry weaving.
That Saturday as I spoke my story to Annie, I watched her layer pieces of tissue paper one upon the other for at least an hour. And she would tear and piece and sometimes turn over the piece…and though I was focused on telling my story and listening to her tell hers, I couldn’t for the life of me begin to see what she was creating. I knew she was placing with a purpose. I knew that in the tearing, the lifting and the putting down, and the smearing out…that something of beauty was being crafted, I just didn’t see it.
As we finished our conversation and she took some scissors to the end of her creation, its final form was revealed…and I gasped (inwardly) All the layers, all the pieces she had so specifically chosen, torn and moved with precision, when assembled in layer upon layer, created a beautiful marbled effect of a teacup she was seeking to create…and to which she would later add a golden like fastening of the broken pieces.
And this spoke to me in so many ways. Because she knew what she was doing. She could see as she turned it over and played with the colors, what the image would be like. Well what she hoped it would look like, but there was a plan in what looked very random to me. And in the end I couldn’t even begin to describe or seek to recreate the beauty that I saw before my eyes.
And then I got to thinking that life is so much like that. My human eyes are so frail and miss so much, that often I lose heart or perhaps hope that there is a greater plan for what’s taking place in my life, good or bad. And as I was reminded that evening as pieces of our stories merged together in the blending and the weaving, that indeed we are being molded and shaped in these bruisings and healings and tearing away of old things and restoration of new, that we are being made more like His Son…that these things are necessary in the creation of the beauty and wholeness for which He created us.
And the blood of His Son, shed on Calvary’s tree, is the very thing that binds this brokenness together into something far more glorious and beautiful then we human could even think of creating. So these things, this unknown, as my human eyes take it in and wonder at the beauty that is being created, I am slowly learning to trust and see small glimpses of the tapestry and beautiful pottery that fills the champers of my Lord’s throne room.
This is the beautiful pieces that Annie was creating: