Love Note: Our Own Canvases

Dear Ones,
In response to our worship service this past Sunday, Kathie Johnson sent me some of her poems that address the issue that we explored at that service….mental health challenges. There was one that particularly sparked my attention because it seemed at first glance to be especially thematic, given that VincentVan Gogh (someone familiar with canvases, to say the least) was also a focal point of our gathering.

As I read through the poem the first time it became increasingly clear to me that these words blended beautifully with more than just Sunday’s service.  Additionally, it touches on what we learned about one’s inner life in the previous John O’Donohue service, and specifically how “…only I truly know the rainbow that exists beneath the layers… and only I can bring that rainbow forth…”.

Reading Kathie’s words again, new inspirations emerged, such as the realization that I am/you are the same surface, the same ‘me’ during times of mental (and other kinds of) hardship as we are during brighter times.  Integrating this deepens our understanding and experience of inherent worth and dignity.

Blessings of peace to you,
(especially if you in the midst of such hardship)

by Kathie Johnson

Is this a new beginning?

Have I been given a blank canvas
                     and a palette with all of the
                     colors that I could
                     possibly desire?
No, it's still the same surface, with
new potential.

But I am still afraid to take
the first stroke -
                     afraid that I'll make a mistake -
                                 and life only comes in
                                 indelible ink.
Somedays I feel bright and cheerful like primary colors.
                     other days, soft, quiet and pastel

I don't know how to blend yet -
                      my mood changes so suddenly.

In the past it was mostly blacks and browns,
                      Dark shades of heaviness
shades that hid my true colors
so that even I didn't know what they were.
There were long days of total white, not knowing or caring who I was,
                       where I was,
                       how I was.

But I'm finding out that even heavy enamel can be scraped off when it dries
                        That even indelible ink can be painted over

It is a slow and arduous process, painful but worthwhile,
                         for only I truly know the rainbow that exists beneath
                         the layers of heavy tears and memories.
                         And only I can bring that rainbow forth for the world to see
                                     And glory in its radiance