To What End?

Where has it all led us? To what end does all this peering into ordinary things bring us? Is it just the journey itself which gives meaning? Is it purely the act of paying attention – drawing ordinary objects in our ordinary lives in order to gain a sense of rootedness and see beauty beneath our feet? Yes. Certainly!

But it also leads us somewhere. Each moment drawn points the way to a glorious end. We who walk the pilgrim’s path of Christ, have a new Day coming! Indeed, in many ways, it is already here…for Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!

The thought that each and every day is now a Resurrection Day, is both arresting and incredibly hope-filled. As Tish Harrison Warren writes in her book Liturgy of the Ordinary

“The Psalmist declares, ‘This is the day that the Lord has made.’ This one. We wake not to a vague or general mercy from a far off God. God, in delight and wisdom, has made, named, and blessed this average day. What I in my weakness see as another monotonous day in a string of days, God has given as a singular gift.” pg. 21.

What a gift Lent has been… a discipline of drawing daily from the ordinary things that surround us…life and loveliness for the path we each are walking.

“These moments of loveliness –good tea, bare trees, and soft shadows –are church bells. In my dimness, they jolt me to attention, and remind me that Christ is in our midst. His song of truth, sung by people all over the world, echoes down my ordinary street, spilling even into my living room.” pg. 140.

Even if I grumbled at having to draw yet another ordinary thing (like “leftovers”), I found by the end of the sketch, a true “moment of loveliness.”  From a closet to my living room, simple bread and wine, each place of ordinary-ness was a keyhole through which I could see the New Life beyond.

May we continue from this day forward, to walk with Christ, drawing the ordinary moments of loveliness, so that we can see the Risen Savior in our midst.

Happy Easter fellow pilgrims!

**You might enjoy this artistic collaboration of tapestry weavings (by yours truly;), poetry, and woodburnings that I have videotaped in a special episode of my Knitterly Arts Podcast. You can see this episode on the blog at jenniferedwards.com or on knitterlyarts.wordpress.com.

***A special thank you to Stacy, Cheryl, Kerstin, Gail, Heidi and others for walking and drawing with me through Lent! It has been a pleasure!

Even Here

I did not plan it this way. Honestly! Each week’s drawing prompts which I randomly listed for us to sketch every day, somehow fit into a category. I marveled at how this week’s prompts all had something to do with somewhat hidden things– stuff we put behind doors, cover with socks and shoes, stash in a drawer, put under a bed, or rarely notice behind the shower curtain.

I kept thinking…Here? Could it be that even here I might find something lovely? Could it be that even in these places where we never show our guests, or perhaps even take note of ourselves, that even here might be something for me. Something of beauty or meaning, or just simply colorful, or worthwhile.

While it may be stretching it to say that God lives under my bed, I do affirm that He deigns to be in the dust bunnies of my life. His presence can be found amongst the junk, in frigidly cold recesses of my heart, in a meager pantry (or a full one), and even in unsuspecting places ready to rain down blessings on my head. This coming week, we will remember with gratitude Christ’s washing of his disciples’ feet. Even there He would lower Himself to show us His love…so amazing…so divine.

I don’t know what all this drawing of the ordinary does in you. For me, I marvel. Could it really be that in the humblest of places, Christ’s presence abides and perhaps even shines all the brighter for the ordinary-ness of its surrounding? Why do I constantly look for Him in the big things? Why am I still thinking it must be in the grand, the accomplished, the organized, the neat, the pretty, and the spectacular where I will find Him at work? Every day of this pilgrim journey through life, and especially here during Lent, I draw breath at the wonder of spectacular grace in ordinary places.

I have recently been exposed to a translation of the Bible called The Message. I am enjoying its ordinary, everyday manner of speech. This passage encourages me in the ordinary walk of life we are privileged to journey:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.” -Romans 12:1

Offer the God of the Universe a shower head?

Yes. Gratitude for cleansing me.

Offer the Savior what’s under my bed?

Yes. Even in lowly places He deigns to dwell.

Offer the Creator my feet?

Yes. In service to Him who made me and others.

Offer the Lord my pantry and the stuff in my freezer?

Yes. In thanksgiving for His provision.

Offer the Lord the junk in my drawer?

Yes. Because He can use anything to display His beauty.

We have one more week of seeking Him in ordinary things through Lent. I, for one, hope to continue looking for God, even in…especially in!… unlikely places.

Buen Camino!

Keys

Though Tish Warren has a beautiful chapter on losing and finding keys in her book Liturgy of the Ordinary, I found myself thinking of keys in a different manner this week as I drew them. As pilgrims, much like Christian in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, we each have been given a key (or keys) to carry with us on our journey. The keys themselves are not The Thing. They merely unlock something which then allows entry to The Thing.

*a key unlocks a treasure chest.

*a key opens a private diary.

*a key allows entry through a door or gate into a castle, a home, a garden.

*a key ignites the engine to drive a vehicle, a lawn mower, a tractor.

In short, without these keys, we are unable to enter fully into the life and beauty we were made for. 

My key ring for this pilgrimage (not only of Lent, but of Life as a whole) consists of a pen or two, a paint brush, knitting needles and a crochet hook. Like the keys on my actual key chain, they unlock hidden treasures and allow entrance to a world unseen by my busy, hectic life. Slowing down enough to draw an ordinary thing along my pilgrim path, ignites my imagination to see beyond and through the difficulties, the mundane, and the glittery and shiny distractions. Without these keys, I’m not sure where I would be.

What keys do you hold as you walk your pilgrimage through Lent and Life? 

Do you hold them close, using them daily to unlock the beauty God has for you?

I am so very grateful for the creative keys God has given me as I walk with Him and with others. We need each other, encouraging one another to take out our keys, our sketchbooks and pens, our knitting needles and hooks, and draw the treasures around us, knitting their beauty and meaning into our hearts.

If you see me along the Camino today, I’ll be the one with a set of keys jangling on her hip. Tap me on the shoulder and we will sit down together to draw, opening the gate to a roadside garden for rest and refreshment.

Buen Camino friend! Here’s a beautiful quote to carry with you on the Camino from the very end of Chapter 4, Liturgy of the Ordinary, by Tish Harrison Warren –

“God searches more earnestly for me than I do for my keys. He is zealous to find His people and to make them whole.” pg. 60.

And then from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress

” ‘What a fool,’ quoth he (Christian), ‘am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty? I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting-Castle.’ Using the key, Christian and Hopeful escaped.”