For the last months, I have contemplated, rejected, embraced, procrastinated and then, with great trepidation, begun the slow work of blogging under the title “Draw Near.” Though I’ve considered other themes and titles, these two simple words float into my aware mind many times a week. A reminder of the choice I have to be present. Near. Grateful. In this life I’ve been given.
To seek God and not draw back.
When I look up “draw” in the dictionary, I am surprised to see 27 variations of the verb alone, from “attract” to “sketch,” and many of them move me for the parallels to this life of faith.
As I ponder drawing today, I see plain white paper covered in crayon and Pentel pen. My childhood depictions of flowers, barn animals, insects smiling back at me. Birds resembling accordions with beaks. Horses easily mistaken for dinosaurs, dogs, even camels. But oh, how I loved to draw.
From my earliest days, I longed to draw like my mama, who sketched sunshines and children and animals with sweet (and accurate) whimsy. She covered napkins and legal pads with these doodles that seemed to me fit for museum walls.
Realizing early that museum walls were not in my future, I did not attack the inability with extra effort (as I would be known to do many times over the years), but with a multitude of hearts. Pink and red and purple hearts.
Lots and lots of them.
In seventh grade, feeling unable to do much well and decidedly having moved on from my “heart stage,” I determined to try my hand at art again. I chose the elective art perspective, taught by the tanned and gray-haired Leland Wallace. Mr. Wallace peppered art technique with tales of his own artistic adventures and life daring, frequently referring to himself in the third person, as many a character are wont to do.
As I remember it, Mr. Wallace taught us to make one, and later two, pencil points along the edges of paper. Vertical lines remained vertical, but every non-vertical line carried to the edge met up with one of those charcoal points, which would be erased upon completion. It was these mysteriously-named “vanishing points” that made a drawing seem three-dimensional and not childish.
These points represented the first time I drew close to the way I imagined.
I felt empowered and excited by the possibilities of drawing buildings and roads and neighborhoods that looked real. Real! I could hardly believe I was capable of something so non-accordion like.
As a 13-year-old girl, I startled at the way the reference point itself made the depiction come to life. And today, it is still the reference point that makes the life.
When the reference point is my own failing, my despair increases. When my reference point is my overwhelm, I threaten to be swallowed by it. When my reference point is the perceptions of others, I feel lost and confused about who I am.
When my reference point is God the giver of all good gifts, I live grateful. When my reference point is faithful God, I know his faithfulness to me. When my reference point is my loving Father, I live in His love and it pours from me freely to others.
My prayer for this blog place is that the telling of my simple adventures in drawing near will resonate with some of your own journeys to focus on the true Reference Point. The one who alone brings imaginings to life and purpose to the places we put our hand.