by Lilly Lewin
I often don’t know what I am going to paint when I buy a canvas. So at art class this week I was working on one painting and while it was drying, I primed another canvas and contemplated what I might paint on it. I covered the canvas with a loose layer of my favorite blue color and I decided that I wanted to paint the Ryman Auditorium on the canvas. The Ryman was and is the home of the Grand Ole Opry here in Nashville. It’s a landmark. It’s known as “The Mother Church of Country Music.” It was originally built as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892 to be a spiritual hub for the city. So the Mother Church of Country Music, started out as a real church.
That led me to think that this canvas needed more than paint. Rather than just painting a picture of the building, I decided that a mixed media art piece would be better! I have a zip lock bag filled with pieces of paper, and clippings that I can use for collage and I just happened to have some song sheets left over from an Easter service. These weren’t just printed words, but were copies of old hymns. Perfect! I will cover the canvas with the music! Great idea, but I was having trouble getting the hymns to stick to the canvas. I was using the wonder craft of Modge Podge but it was not drying well and some of the hymns were tearing. One of my classmates walked by and said ‘well it usually helps if you let it dry in between layers.”
WOW! Light bulb moment! Or as Oprah says “ A HAH “moment. This is such a metaphor for my life!
I don’t like to wait for things to dry.
I don’t like to wait.
I want to make things work fast, and often I take short cuts.
Most people measure things, I just eyeball them. Some people sketch out something first, I tend to dive in and see what happens.
This can be both a gift and a curse. When the picture I’ve hung is crooked or the frame has to be returned to the store because it wasn’t the right size.
But I digress, this lesson from God was about my inability to be patient, my inability to wait and be in the process.
In my very human view, God is always slow. God’s timing tends to be much later than mine.
I often say that God is always late. But this is because I cannot see the way God is at work and because I am so in a hurry!
There was a book in the 80’s called “I Gave God Time”
I used to say that “I gave God a deadline!”
And it’s so true! I tend to give God deadlines rather than being willing to wait, rather than enjoying the journey or the process.
Ugh! This seems to be a cultural thing too. Especially now that we all hold smart phones and have instant access to the world.
Why is it that we want everything now?
We live in such an instant society. We don’t know how to wait.
We have lost the art of slowness.
We have lost the art of process.
I think this is why so many people are going back to crafts and making things, and why slow cooking and back yard farming are growing among people in their 20’s. It’s reclaiming the process rather than the instant!
We tend to avoid slowness and avoid process because it gives us time for reflection.
Process and slowness, waiting, rather running ahead, allow us time to think and if we have time to think this often gets scary.
We tend to get busy so we don’t have to think.
We run ahead because we cannot see the next steps and we don’t trust that God has a plan.
How are you with letting things dry?
How are you doing with being in the process of things?
Are you running ahead today?
Or are you willing to wait for the hymns to dry?
The “a ha” of the of the hymns not drying…
I need to pause, I need to stop, and i need to be present to the process.
I need to be present to the waiting.
I need to trust that my Creator sees the finished product and knows what I long for.
And I need to remember that God has the pieces in hand and actually has the next steps ready if I will just wait.
What are you longing for in your life?
What are you waiting for?
What things are you impatient about right now?
Are you willing to pause and be in the process? Are you willing to be willing?
God, help me remember that you hold the pieces of my life in your hand. Help me remember that you have not forgotten me. Help me remember that you have the next steps ready if I will just wait and be still. help me to let the hymns dry! AMEN