Sunday, 17 July 2011

Faith =Trust

This is a painting I began a while back.
The real subject was meant to be the dish in the upper left corner.  
It is one of the individual serving dishes in what used to be called a "fruit set"  when I was a child.

That was way back in the dark days of the second world war, 
and here in Britain the most exotic event desert -wise, was when the fruit set came out, 
(for high days and holidays),
and there might be the wonderful sight, and sound, 
of golden slices of peach slurping, syrup -coated,
out of a can, into the large bowl.

These treasures would have been hoarded from a food parcel 
sent from Canada by my father's aunt Gwladys.
(That's a Welsh spelling not a typo).

More usually our fruit desert would consist of bottled pears,or plums, or stewed apples,
which again would emerge infrequently from the dark shelves of the larder under the stairs.
I do not mention the bottled gooseberries
because I never could class that strange mushy jell as a fruit either then or now. 
The painting began because I wanted to make a record of the pretty dish 
that to my child's mind was beautiful in itself, 
but especially wonderful when filled with memories of happy anticipation,  
juicy fulfillment,
and the cost behind a caring love I did not then fully appreciate.

I began the painting in my usual haphazard way, 
so that, relying on my intuition it would grow "on it's own",
and I could just enjoy the experience of
 "getting it out there".
(Yes, just lazy I guess).
As I painted the dish, 
my uncle's apple tree from which much of our fruit came, 
found it's way into my mind.
With it came the happy memory of those swinging rides when, 
swooping through the air between earth and sky,
I almost felt I could touch the fruit hanging above me.

Then underneath the dish appeared Mam's prized best tablecloth, 
the creamy flowers matt against the silky orche background.
Such richness!
The pears just came to begin to bring balance,
and because I have always loved the elegant shape of the home grown pear, 
not to mention the sweet, 
chin-dribbling flesh beyond the roughness of the skin.

So memories and impressions came flooding back as I worked on the painting, 
and again gratitude flooded in too.

There was so much pain and  fear in those war-riven times.
My father was away at the front. 
My mother,s life was hard on many counts,
and even then I was clear sighted about the harshness of life as it was.

No,it is not sentimentality that colours this painting, 
but a deep gratefulness for all we were given, in and through the hard times.

So what has all this to do with trust, and faith?

In child-like faith I trusted my mother to provide, 
and to be honest that provision wasn't always what I was 
hoping for, 
or even what one might have judged necessary 
for a healthy outcome on many levels,
yet I continued to trust.

You could say that's all the child can do.
Hope and trust in the one who provides, 
and of course the scripture has Jesus saying
 "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. .... (matt. 18:3)
(emphasis mine)

The Lord only knows though,
how often I have trembled at even the thought of trusting Him
with some heart stopping situation,
and asked that He help me in my unbelief, 
but faith has to admit in the end,
Ps.25 "Whom have I in heaven but you?
   And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
   but God is the strength of my heart
   and my portion forever".

So, long in the tooth though I am one,
of my oft repeated prayers comes by way of this psalm 
of child-like trust,
though I do have to ask for grace to cover the first verse's 
opening statement!

Psalm 131
A song of ascents. Of David.
 1 My heart is not proud, LORD,
   my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
   or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
   I am like a weaned child with its mother;
   like a weaned child I am content.
 3 Israel, put your hope in the LORD
   both now and forevermore. 

At times it may seem to my partial sight that like my mother,
God has not always seemed to come up with the goods I've either wanted, or needed.
Still, even this side of seeing "face to face",
I know I can trust the love that has never let me down.

God Bless

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