Wondering while Wandering…
…an artist’s limp toward finding ‘Radiance Through the Rain’
‘May the Rain of Suffering Soften Our Hearts,
Seeping Radiance to Our Thirsty Places.’
J. Douglas Thompson© 2023
“By giving words to these intimate experiences I can make my life available to others…” Henri Nouwen*
I’m just a pilgrim, nothing fancy, a wandering artist. I think, ponder long and hard, enquire with difficult questions, listen well, pray fitfully and finally, give myself a chance to engage my will, to choose belief and or not. In my case it has been in the affirmative.
My desire in writing these disparate thoughts is to awaken awareness, encourage endurance, and bless beauty with wild creativity.
To get there however, it is foundational to raise the curtain and set the stage.
There is a backdrop of a dark soul’s night grasping pitons of evasive moving light. A cautious traverse into blue-black darkness. Scaling cumulous light cliffs of silver white gleaming and repelling cavernous thunders dark.
It screams aloud then sings poetic soft, rants honest doubt with hands raised high in simultaneous praise, gratitude, and back splashed worships wonder.
It is full-out conundrum!
It is wild Mustangs, fling of mane and immodest head shake snort as it races freedoms brow. It throws across life’s canvas, savage splashes painted full-out primary and softly, silently, exacts the joy of sepia’s single line.
Sorrow’s cup surges dams brim of broken years as tears flow turbulent heavy in lament while further down, laughter’s joy gurgles long forgotten throat, and calm’s soothing soft.
It is complex… and then to add to that how some theological achromatics are so often painted only as narrow primaries.
It pushes hard against being corralled, yet knows the value of love-directed bit and rein. It expresses sighs of lies, weary worn of legalistic rant. It smiles wide at full bodied, thick tongue-rolled flavor of life’s stolen wine. It is about passion, the aliveness of all that invites the capture of sensual’s five.
It feels dangerous!
It expresses crushing crucible living with painted silhouettes of tree twisted gale dancing, back lit wind living, that seep light as tangos move stage left to sun-dappled grace.
The valley’s struggle sticks sweaty back, tear-stained, years far too long, and finds this wrestler left with strength bereft, face held close in hands cupped warm in hollow soft… the cup of love itself.
This record… a personal journey of raw wounds and bandaged hope, includes the pus of dark abuse and the rim-light of love, affection, forgiveness, acceptance and freedom’s flirtations.
It could take it’s cue from the well-used title of the poem of St. John of the Cross on spiritual sand gravel living, ‘The Dark Night of the Soul.’ Light’s hope is perceived greatest when the backdrop is cave black.
Ultimately, thoughts of devotional gratitude lead along steep cliff paths of praise and joy. Beauty beheld, but not likely, days of cloudless skies and azure blue where care has skipped away, and daisies picked in thoughtless shallow. No, much more likely, it is about misty grey, wet dripping slate grey days that scheme again to take me down and cumulous heights and magic lights that wink warm pink just before darkness comes again.
It is about my push against personal darkness. A pushback at a lifetime struggle with depression, oppression and sometimes misguided spiritualization. My mentor master has the moniker, ‘A man of sorrow and acquainted with grief.’ This sojourner eternal was in the constant crosshairs of the pharisaical and politically expedient until perfection was murdered cold. That mentor, now, sits resurrection high and blows to and fro through Spirit’s soft winds care and chooses bleeding co-authored hands and feet with human skin on, obedience to rim-light hope again.
These are my realities. Just me, a simple struggling human artist. A painter who, in simplicity, perseverance and endurance attempts through the subtle metaphoric to reflect the wild face of his creator friend and his crucified redemptive care and love through the created and sustained cosmos.
To be called devotional may be a stretch. I reflect on Psalms past long, anecdotes of adjacent dark to juxtaposed light, struggle thrashed against conflicted rest, lust, and fragrant bouquets of grace. I’m attempting here to scumble and stroke with words instead of paint, the back-and-forth swing of prose to poetry, with a heart that longs towards redemptions long-lost longings to bring wishful encouragement to fellow stumblers and sojourners.
And yet through it all…Yes, I will praise Him!
“By giving words to these intimate experiences, I can make my life available to others…” Henri Nouwen, Seeds of Hope, Image books December 1997 pp32*
Thanks for this Doug. I hear your heart.