Monday, June 17, 2013

Family Resemblance

Yesterday was an interesting day. Father's Day has never really been a big deal in my house. My dad left when I was little, and I never had stepfather or anyone else that filled that role. Occasionally I would celebrate with Mom, but it's a hard day for her since her dad passed away when she was so young. Most years it comes and goes without much notice. But this year I had a bit of a shocking realization. I look like my dad.

That may seem like an odd thing to suddenly realize, but I never knew it before yesterday. See, my father left when I was 2, so I don't really remember him. I had never so much as seen a picture of him until my half brother posted a throwback photo of him and my dad from when he was little. It was weird and a little unsettling. I posted the picture of the two of them on Instagram and immediately got comments about how much I look like my father.  Here's a comparison...
Me being silly at Hobby Lobby
My brother Jeremy and our father, circa 1983?
Ok, maybe not the best picture of me, but it is the most recent. It's strange to know you look like someone who doesn't want anything to do with you. But before you start trying to make me feel better, you should know I had another realization, too.

I think (or I hope) that I also favor my Dad. You know, my Father, the Creator of all things. That Guy. In Psalm 65:8 it says that God is a Father to the fatherless, and I am finally to a point where I get that and believe it to be true in my own situation. And I hope I look like Him, too. A few weeks ago, an agnostic co-worker and I were talking and he said he knew something was different about me because I "just have a light inside," and I knew he meant the Holy Spirit. That was probably the best compliment I have ever gotten. Despite the physical appearance a few strands of DNA gave me, I want to know that people I look like my Dad.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My Life in a Tree

Today was a busy day for me, which, most people know, is weird because I like having empty Sundays. But alas, today filled up quite nicely. My afternoon was spent painting a tree and learning a little about life in the process.

My friend Sarah sent me a last minute Facebook invite to a fundraiser for the East Tennessee Kidney Foundation. They were doing a class at Painting with a Twist. I've been wanting to try one of those classes for a while, so Amy and I decided to go. 

Let me start by saying this: I am not what you might call an artist. Yes, I am crafty. I can crochet, I can imagine, I can create... I cannot draw. That had me a little nervous, but I figured that it was for a good cause. And even if I hated it I could gift it to someone else later. :-)

When I sat down at the canvas, I already knew this could have the potential to get deep. I have the tendency  to look for the life lessons in certain activities, and I knew that had the possibility to pop up here. It did. I realized that creating this painting was going to be a lot like making it through life. 

You start with a blank canvas. Maybe a few suggested colors, but you can use them how you choose.

You work to establish your background. Sometimes it gets a little messed up...
I said that was an abstract eagle, Amy said
it was a mountain. Whatever it was, I didn't
do it on purpose.
 ...so you have to work to make it how you want it.
Bye bye, eagle mountain.
 Then you work on your focus...
I thought I was done, so I took a pic of what
it looked like after this step...
 ... and you tweak the details...
But then I decided it needed a branch near
the bottom of the trunk...
 ... then you tweak them a little more...
Oh! and some off that one branch on the
right...
Then you start doing what other people tell you to do and it all goes to pot.
This is where I stopped loving my picture
 So you work to add a little bit more of yourself into it.

And blend to get it to where you are ok with it.

Then you realize you were just looking at it the wrong way...
I decided I love my painting as a branch
more than as a tree. 
So yeah... even if things don't always turn out the way you pictured them, that doesn't mean it's wrong. Maybe you just need to look at it differently. 




For the record, I really had a great time. I just don't get along with sponges and painting. There was a time that I was trying to sponge paint a wall in Greg's house, and it ended with my lying in the floor nearly in tears over the fact that it wasn't doing what I wanted.

This is what we were supposed to be painting.... 
I think it's adorable, but it's not really "me." Which is cool, because my tree isn't a tree, it's a branch. And I love it even more as a branch. It alludes to the fact that it's part of something bigger than itself. Which I am.
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