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Painting the Spiritual Journey
February
23

Written by: journeyoncanvas

02/23/2022 10:09 PM

I went on a grand journey. It was back in 2014. I walked with Jesus. It wasn’t a dream, and it wasn’t “real.” However, it happened. I guess you could call it a vision, but that doesn’t make it any less real. During Christmas, we celebrate the manifestation of Christ in human form. We remember the journey He took to arrive here on Earth. I look at this Epiphany story from the outside. I am not a participant. My walk with Jesus in 2014 is different. I remember every step. I can feel it all: His touch, His presence, and His message to me. This was (and is) my Epiphany story. I was inside it, and it was just Him and me. I remember it all like it was yesterday. I have retraced this walk by painting it. I tried to capture the whole story on my canvas. I have tried to communicate what I discovered on the way. These creations are my best stab at describing what happened, and how I returned home from this journey completely the same and completely new. I am, in many ways, less connected to my faith than I have been in a long time: it has been pretty much deconstructed. All I have left, at the bottom of it all, is this experience. When all else fails, I remember this strange journey that I took, and that moors me. Jesus really came to Earth. His story is true. He came as a child, grew to be a man, and loved us enough to give his life to reveal that love. I don’t know this because the Bible says so or because my church says so. I know it because I walked with Him on the beach in complete peace. Here, I gathered the gift of knowing that one day I would return to Him by the shores of the sea and choose to stay. I truly believe that I could have chosen to stay on the shores with him in 2014. It was on those shores, though, that I learned why I should come back: while I would continue to completely mess everything up upon my return, I still had a path and a purpose that transcended my brokenness. Daily, I would love poorly, but I would give loving my best shot. For those I love, this is better than living life without me. In this magnificent moment I saw that I am enough as I am: no better and no worse. By His grace, I walk this Earth. By His grace, one day I will walk the beach with Him again. I look at my recreation of this experience, and it is not a masterpiece. I really bit off much more than I can chew here. Visions are wholly intangible. I painted it to sear this epiphany into my heart with my paintbrush, so I will never forget. This, I attained to some degree. That is very good because this is what I have left at my spiritual bottom. This is the new place from which I glean my faith on my journey.  Reader's Note: The ECVA (Episcopal Church and Visual Arts) exhibition titled Stories from the Road shares "From Where I Glean My Faith."
This is a painting of a spiritual vision. A woman is shown seeking Jesus.
I painted this vision from 2014 to sear its resulting epiphany into my heart with my paintbrush, so I will never forget.

Painting the Spiritual Journey

I went on a grand journey. It was back in 2014. I walked with Jesus. It wasn’t a dream, and it wasn’t “real.” However, it happened. I guess you could call it a vision, but that doesn’t make it any less real. During Christmas, we celebrate the manifestation of Christ in human form. We remember the journey He took to arrive here on Earth. I look at this Epiphany story from the outside. I am not a participant. My walk with Jesus in 2014 is different. I remember every step. I can feel it all: His touch, His presence, and His message to me. This was (and is) my Epiphany story. I was inside it, and it was just Him and me. I remember it all like it was yesterday. I have retraced this walk by painting it. I tried to capture the whole story on my canvas. I have tried to communicate what I discovered on the way. These creations are my best stab at describing what happened, and how I returned home from this journey completely the same and completely new. I am, in many ways, less connected to my faith than I have been in a long time: it has been pretty much deconstructed. All I have left, at the bottom of it all, is this experience. When all else fails, I remember this strange journey that I took, and that moors me. Jesus really came to Earth. His story is true. He came as a child, grew to be a man, and loved us enough to give his life to reveal that love. I don’t know this because the Bible says so or because my church says so. I know it because I walked with Him on the beach in complete peace. Here, I gathered the gift of knowing that one day I would return to Him by the shores of the sea and choose to stay. I truly believe that I could have chosen to stay on the shores with him in 2014. It was on those shores, though, that I learned why I should come back: while I would continue to completely mess everything up upon my return, I still had a path and a purpose that transcended my brokenness. Daily, I would love poorly, but I would give loving my best shot. For those I love, this is better than living life without me. In this magnificent moment I saw that I am enough as I am: no better and no worse. By His grace, I walk this Earth. By His grace, one day I will walk the beach with Him again. I look at my recreation of this experience, and it is not a masterpiece. I really bit off much more than I can chew here. Visions are wholly intangible. I painted it to sear this epiphany into my heart with my paintbrush, so I will never forget. This, I attained to some degree. That is very good because this is what I have left at my spiritual bottom. This is the new place from which I glean my faith on my journey. 

Reader’s Note: The ECVA (Episcopal Church and Visual Arts) exhibition titled Stories from the Road shares “From Where I Glean My Faith.”

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