“In 40 years of teaching art, you are my only failure!” My own mother said this to me. “You can draw your breath and flies, and that is all you can draw!” This might seem pretty harsh but she meant it. It was true– sad, but true.
Hanging on the wall in my office at church in a most prominent place is my only effort at painting. It is a picture of “The Spirit of St. Lewis”, flying low over an ocean buoy during Charles Lindbergh’s historic flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
I was about 10 or 12 years old and I was in tears, looking at the mess I had made of that painting.
“Joe, what’s wrong?”
“Ohhh Mom! I can’t do anything right!”
“It’s not so bad. Let me have your brush.”
In her aged, skilled hands my splotchy attempt at sunrise BECAME sunrise! The blob of orange paint I had carelessly dropped became a buoy bobbing in the endless expanse.” I looked in disbelief at what had just happened and exclaimed, “Mom, I guess I AM an artist!”
Now, years later, when I realize I have messed up or when someone comes into my office fretting over an error in judgement, I look at that painting and think of the greatest Master.
God is a wonderful and talented Artist. He is so great that nothing I do can ruin the painting that is my life. But I must do these things:
1. I must be serious about the painting that is my life.
2. I must be honest and admit that I have messed it up.
3. I must hand my brush to the Grand Master.
4. I must be patient and trusting as before my eyes He transforms my mess into a true work of art.
When I did that long ago, my painting ceased to be mine alone. It became Mom’s and mine.
Today when I do this with my life, it ceases to be mine alone. My life becomes a portrait of God in me.