A few years ago I was told I was dying of cancer. During that battle is when I was “touched with color”.
Until the diagnosis, I had never allowed myself the time to explore my artistic urges. I had ambitious goals that led me always in other directions. Even in high school my extracurricular creative activities revolved around theater. With a sense of a great honor, I fearlessly took on the role of Anne Frank when I was 15. But the thought of walking into an art class terrified me. In theater you hide yourself, in art you reveal yourself for all the world to see.
When I read my cancer diagnosis report, which proposed that I would not live any longer than two more years, I was surprised by what popped into my head. “But I’d always wanted to paint, someday”. I believed the paper. A definitive report I held in my hands was announcing that my SOMEDAY would never arrive. I entered the battle for my life, with surgery and intensive chemo.
Then other losses poured into my life. Almost everything I had ever depended on or hoped for was destroyed.I still believed in the promises Jesus Christ had made. I remained confident that He would prepare a place for me — on the other side of a casket or urn. I never stopped believing that He had risen from the dead. I had spent years studying the Bible and always found that it led me to new and amazing things. However, I could no longer brush aside the emotional, ultimate question.
IS God good? Why is there evil?
Belief in His goodness had always been the foundation of my existence. As I Iooked at the horrors in our fallen world, I struggled to find meaning in life. I felt the core of my heart crumbling away. I was going to die of a broken heart, more than from the disease and violence I had experienced. Some people have called this the "dark night of the soul”.It was more tormenting than every other personal loss and pain I had experienced. Where my theology could not withstand, God began to use color to speak love into my heart. Color lifted me out of my physical and emotional dying. The beauty of color reassured me of God’s goodness. I had a very personal sense of His presence, and He began to show me how much I was still depending on my own strength.
I now grow daily in this walk with Him where I rest in Him. A little at a time, I move into a more calm, trusting and thankful state of being.
I am able to accept my own doubts without feelings of guilt. Humans can’t explain why. We are not wise enough to grasp God’s purposes. My confidence that God loves all human beings is leading me into what the Bible calls “a peace that surpasses understanding”. He has a purpose in what happens to each one of us.
COLOR itself became the symbol of “beauty for ashes”—which became the banner over my life. As an adult, I finally took my first art class and something unexpected happened. I arbitrarily chose a community watercolor class. I finally broke down my wall of fear about this longing to make art. Because of the role color had played in my life, I find special significance in what followed.
From my first class, there was almost a life force flowing from my paintbrush. I sold paintings out of my first classes, to my complete astonishment.
It is my hope that my art will bring more beauty into the world, and comfort to others. God’s art, in this colorful world, became a powerful source of healing and restoration in my life. My cancer is now in complete remission.I want to continue to explore the soul language of art, by treasuring the creativity of others, and exploring all that is within me. Through my own, and the art of others, I get in touch with the full range of my emotions.
Some of my art is melancholy, even gothic, as I experience and process the emotions I tried to deny and avoid. Denying emotions, or any reality of life, has destructive consequences. I am learning to face, and walk through all that I feel, with honesty. I am confident now that, however dark it may be, this world is still inhabited by the King of Kings.
The spectrum of light that our eyes are pernitted to see, what we call color, is more than able to drive back the darkness. I don’t have to understand HOW. I strive to allow it to be the lamp unto my feet, and light upon my path ~ from a Psalm in the Judeo-Christian Bible. One of the things Jesus called Himself was “the light of the world”. Jesus communicates in a personal way to me through many means.I am now LONG past that “expiration date” of two years—which had once been stamped across my life by a cancer diagnosis. Though an appointment with death still waits for me, as it does for each one of us, I currently have no hint as to when it will be.I hope to spend every precious day I have, cooperating with God by using my unique gifts — to receive His love and share it with others.