Friday, July 29, 2016

Blank Canvas

You know that moment when you are walking through a museum and something grabs you? Maybe a glorious sculpture or the colors in a vivid impressionist painting? Something just touches you, your soul, and you stop. You breathe. You delight.

I always ask myself how someone went from a block or clay or a piece of paper to such a masterpiece. What went on in his head? Did she feel the need to create? Did it just pour out of this person? 

When I look at clay or paper or canvas, that's all I see. Maybe I want to write something on it, but there is nothing else. No picture, no image, that comes to mind. No creational force. I am grateful that so many other people in the world DO see what needs to be painted or drawn or sculpted. So grateful.

I used to believe that I didn't have creativity because of this particular lack in giftedness. 

But as I've gotten to know my God, my God who sees beauty in ashes, who creates out of nothing, I've seen that there is a piece of that image in all of us.

All of us have some area in which we see the potential of something. Not just what's in front of us, but what COULD be. Creational optimism. Vision.

This is our current backyard.

Used to be a playset, now a big bald patch with rubber mulch pieces embedded


Gate leading to more backyard that wasn't fenced...why?

All swampy weeds and overgrown landscaping

Old looking lattice covered in green and mud underneath the deck.
Deck (which is great!) leads to weeds and moss and, yes, more mud.














Right now, I type this painfully as I have poison oak rash between all my fingers and up and down my arms and legs. I am covered in mosquito bites from mowing what is not really a yard but a swampy, weedy, insect-infested forest.

That is the reality of what it is. 

For me, though, every time I look outside, every time I step on another weed or trip over an exposed tree root or look at the algae growing on the fence that has clearly never been power-washed, I see potential. I see beauty. I see God's creation in trees and shrubs and flowers and grasses just waiting to be tended and coaxed and given what it needs to flourish. I see a great storage space and a fort underneath that deck. I see little kids laughing in a sensory corner developed just for them. I see big kids playing on a jungle gym or jumping on a trampoline or climbing trees or maybe even riding a zip line from one tree to another. I see (if I look REALLY hard) a hammock hanging and my husband and I reading books together on a lazy Sunday when the kids are older. 

I see potential. I see a beautiful blank canvas.

I am SO glad that God sees us in similar light. Sees not just what is (and loves us there), but what is created to be. What can be. What should be reality and is already reality in his perfected grace even though we don't look that way on the outside quite yet. And that he's gifted us with that same ability to see the goodness around us in varied and beautiful ways. 

My backyard is not going to happen overnight- flowers take time to grow, we'll need a tree company's help and I'm not so sure my husband is looking forward to building another playset. It's too dad-blamed hot to plant anything right now. Really, it's too hot to even be outside looking at the yard. I can barely mow it without losing my entire weight in sweat during July in Virginia. 

So right now, I dream. I collect ideas. I draw them out in my head and on paper. I cross things out and start over. I scour the internet for creative and budget-friendly ideas, things I can create with my kids' help and on my own. I peer creepily into neighboring backyards to see what others have done.

And I go outside with the little ones anyway., when the heat index is below 105. We traipse through the weeds, we climb the trees, we water what little grass does exist.

Because even though it's nice to dream, you gotta dream while life still happens.