Hope and Reconciliation – the process

5 Oct

About 10 years ago, my musician friend Julie Bernstein had a vision. A vision of artists of all practices—musicians, poets, dancers, and painters—coming together to put on a night for the city of Charlottesville. This night would serve not merely as a performance, but a launching pad- springing artists deeper into their crafts and the faith community into a deeper, more intentional love for their city.

A few months ago, Julie contacted me with a request to be part of that vision, one she was finally ready to make real.

“It’s going to be about hope, reconciliation, and restoration” she said, going more into her heart behind the night.

I stopped, unable to believe what I was hearing.

“You do know that’s been the theme of my work the past five years. Everything I’ve been painting about, writing about, and speaking about…it’s been that.”

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Julie, of course, didn’t know that.

She didn’t know that for a long time I struggled with identity and connection with God, and my celestial mirror pieces came out of that—a literal picture of identity restored, a reconciliation between God and man.

She didn’t know about the breakdown in my personal life, and the fact that everything I painted I did while holding onto the hope of healing and change—and the seemingly impossible restoration and reconciliation of relationships.

She didn’t know about my heart for brokenness in the city and culture itself, and the reason I was still doing art was because of the belief that God could use my breakdown to encourage and inspire others—bringing hope to the broken world around me. 

She also didn’t know that there were plans for a painting sitting in my sketchbook…plans I realized were meant for this time.

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I could write pages and pages about what happened during the two months I painted that piece, and how I couldn’t have painted it at a more inconvenient time. Soon after getting my first layers on the canvas, the very situation I had been praying about for years—the one this piece was about—reached a breaking point, bringing me to question if what I believed about “restoration” was even real.

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But there was a word someone shared with me the day before I finished this painting. It came from from the very person whose situation I was connected to. Instead of a formal title, that’s the only word I want to attach to this piece:

“Believe.”

The moment the word was shared with me, it etched itself in my heart.

Believe that you’re not the exception.
Believe that all this talk about reconciliation—about restoration—it applies to you.

And believe that God is working out a process of restoration in your life not only because he loves you…but because he calls you to restore others. 

Yes. Those in your home. Those in your circle. Those in your city.

And that, I think, is one of the greatest reasons to hold onto hope.

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48×36, Oils, ashes, gold mica dust on canvas

 

 

 

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