"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Two Prints; One Story

Two pictures hang in my bathroom. One is a botanical with the word Beauty stamped on it. It was created and given to me by my dear friend Vicki whose own giftings far exceed her own awareness.

The second hangs on the opposite wall and it bears the image of a woman desperately hanging unto a cross rising out of a torrent sea – with what appears to be pieces of a lifeboat drifting in the water. When I saw it a number of years ago in an antique shop, I knew immediately it was meant for me. Two prints; two stories.

Or are they one?

At times, each print has ministered to me. My bathroom was created in such a way that it hosts 3 full wall mirrors – and so there’s a lot of opportunity for reflection (no pun intended). Not only has the beauty print often reminded me of God’s beauty which surrounds me daily, but my own desire to be beautiful. On the other hand, the print of the woman reminds me of my desperate need, often feeling like that woman. Two pictures on two walls facing each other. Two different stories but both speaking of longing.

There’s a point in the room where both prints are viewable to the eye at the same time. It’s through the reflection in the mirror. It’s at this viewpoint that I believe they tell one story. Len Sweet writes, “Every one lives the simultaneous reality of saint and sinner. I am beautiful, and the ugliness is me.” Is that not so true? I am beautiful to God because I am His creation. But in this world in which I live, I am often a complete mess, and the Christ, through the cross, is my only hope for beauty. He is my only hope at all.

I often struggle with the dichotomy of beauty versus desperation, but seeing the prints side by side as I so often do now, I’m coming to know a God who loves and cares for me in all the walks of life – through the highs and lows, whether my hormones are raging or holiness is the habit of the day. Two prints. One story.

Could it be that when we truly are desperate, desperate for Jesus, that we really do reflect His beauty?

Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

1 comment:

Robert said...

The picture of the woman always confused me. I always thought to myself, "Why would there be a big stone cross in the middle to the sea, and why would that woman on her boat, in all the sea she could have travelled, how'd she run into that cross?"

Thanks for answering a mystery.