Monday, January 30, 2012

The portrait...

I can see you fly.
You are an angel with wings,
high above the ground.

(traditional haiku)

Recently, I’ve had this self-portrait Sara did in college sitting out where I can see it every day. It’s been on display in my dining room, where I get to look at it several times each day. I found it while sorting through some of her things a few months ago. My first thought was that it was “so Sara.” Most people would look at it and immediately think, or notice, that it’s just “not done.” The parts that are “finished” showcase her exceptional eye for, and use of, color and her attention to detail. It also showcases Sara’s penchant for starting projects…then letting them sit, unfinished, until she was ready to see them finished.

Thematically, it would be easy to say this self-portrait is the perfect analogy of Sara and Miranda’s lives – unfinished portraits, lives cut too short. However, I find I’ve been trying to focus on the portrait as a statement of life from the perspective of my faith. In Psalm 139:16, the Psalmist declares, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (NIV) In the book Through A Season of Grief, Dr. Louis Palau shares, "The Bible clearly teaches that a brief life is not an incomplete life. We have our ideas of how long we should live, but the Bible says that every one of our days was written in God's book before they even happened.” You and I may look at Sara and Miranda’s lives as incomplete portraits…but in God’s eyes, they are exactly as He knew they would be. To be clear, I don’t believe this means their lives were as He planned them to be; only that they were as He knew they would be. To some of you, that may not sound like much of a difference, while to others it may sound like a huge difference; I find myself having to believe that God’s knowledge of their days, and deaths, doesn’t have to align with His plan for their lives. I believe that God planned on Sara and Miranda living full and complete lives. It was the chaos of sin and death that interrupted His plan, stealing them from this earth, and allowing them to enter into His Glory, albeit prematurely. I understand I’m treading in some deep theological waters here, and it’s highly likely that I’m floundering and simply in desperate need of someone to toss me a spiritual life preserver; however, I have to believe…I choose to believe…that the portrait of their lives is “complete.” The painting may appear unfinished, or incomplete, but I feel privileged to have been included in the brush strokes.