I am a BIG fan of good, sound, prayerful, Christ-centered counseling…now. Prior to the year 2001 you would have never seen me near a counseling office. Counseling was for the weak…for those who had problems…for people who had “issues.” In 2001 God did me a huge favor…He showed me myself in all my pathetic weakness and need. Guess where I ended up? Yes, indeed…in counseling.
I had a wonderful Christian counselor who was really quite a saint. First thing I did when I walked into her office was make it very clear what I would NOT talk about. (And I thought I didn’t have issues:). God bless my sweet counselor…she simply smiled at me and said, “OK.”
One afternoon just as I was getting up to leave she said, “Cherri, I want you to work on something for me over the next two weeks. I want you to draw a line across a blank piece of paper. Above the line at the top write ‘HAPPY.’ At the bottom of the page write, ‘SAD.’ Then I want you to remember back to your very first memory and graph that memory above or below the line to the extent that you felt happy or sad. As you think back over your life, graph your memories on the line and bring it to our next counseling session.”
Two weeks later, I handed my counselor my graph and she thanked me then promptly put it into a file. A bit anti-climactic after two weeks worth of work, but at my next appointment, she answered the door with my paper in her hand. Just about the first words from her mouth were, “Cherri, did anything jump out at you while you were creating this graph?” I had to be honest…nothing had “leapt from the page.” Even as she showed it to me again, I did not see one thing that would make me say, “Ah! Ha!!!!” For the next hour we talked about this graph and for the first time in my life I understood myself with a clarity I had never experienced. She noticed that nearly every good memory I had happened outdoors…summer vacations camping, working in the woods with my dad in our family firewood business, or time spent playing outside in the neighborhood where I grew up. Most of my bad memories happened inside four walls: some inside the small house where I grew up. As I think back on that timeline, my life…my childhood was trying to tell me something about the art in my life and what fuels it.
In the book we are doing together, our author tells us that sometimes we need to “look back” and “rescue” the art we were making even as children. I can tell you that in my life, a lot of my art happens outside of four walls. Whenever I can, I am outside. I don’t even have to be “far out.” A backyard will do just fine. My favorite place to write and do my Bible studies is outside at the table on my backyard patio especially around sunrise. At this moment I am outside typing away and this is the beauty God has given this morning at Lake Tahoe where I am visiting my sister!
I was talking with my granddaughters one day about beauty. I asked them what they see as beautiful. Their list was much like my own: sunsets and sunrises, wind blowing in treetops, poppy covered fields, billowing thunderheads that fill the sky. God’s creation fills me and inspires me to create art that I hope with all my heart glorifies the Maker of all good things. I hope pictures of sunsets, and forest paths, descriptions of sunrises and a valley covered in wildflowers, or a waterfall cascading down a mountainside, fill people with wonder and turn their eyes to an incomparable Creator.
I know that the “great outdoors” does not inspire art in everyone. I know this for certain because I have a birthed a few myself:). I have talented and gifted daughters who the LAST thing they want to do is sit outside with bugs and wild creatures. It most assuredly does not inspire art in these precious ones of mine…but other things do…like music or the “blank canvas” of a birthday party or wedding shower.
Do yourself a favor. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and your memories. Graph the happy and the sad and see if your art peeks out at you from behind those lines. Rescue your childhood love for ____________ (whatever you might find) and bring it out in the open to bring joy to others and glory to God.
Look back and rescue what God gave you from the beginning!
Love to you, my dear gifted sisters!