There have always been people who wondered at our decision to live on an island; who couldn't imagine living "that far" from civilization (when a 30 minute ferry ride will put you right in downtown Seattle, or, if you prefer, a 30 minute drive will take you across a bridge to a typical suburban mall).
But we love it here; love the relative peace and quiet, the lighter traffic, the trees, the sense of community, the emphasis on the arts... and, of course, the water. I'm always happy to travel -- there are lots of beautiful places in the world to visit -- but I'm happier still to return, to leave the city behind, glide across the water, and slip back into this lovely place we call home.
Growth is never a steady path, a single incline with no dips or curves. But when your internal eye is set on the goal it can be hard to be patient with those long dull stretches when it feels like you're getting nowhere, or with those dark times when you wonder if you'll ever be out of the woods.
Holy Week -- the exhilaration of the beginning, the impatience in the temple, the humility of Maundy Thursday, the agony of the cross, the waiting -- both in the garden, and by the tomb -- and the rejoicing in glory that illuminates its completion -- encapsulates that whole growth process for me.
And, just like Holy Week, it happens over and over again; there are always new tasks to master, new moments of humility, new trials to overcome, and new arrivals and discoveries to celebrate. With each new round we find ourselves again caught in the wheel, awash in the emotions of the moment, eager for the revelations to come even as we struggle with the bonds that hold us back.
I mention all this because this painting feels a bit like Easter to me. I know we're not supposed to be there quite yet, but hey -- my personal Easter doesn't always keep to the liturgical calendar! For me this painting is the culmination of a year of study and exploration, and a promise of possibility, and a reminder that sometimes the missing piece, that problem you've been trying to solve, that resolution you seek, can come in a blinding flash of insight when you least expect it, when your mind is on other things and that restless seeking inside has finally given up and taken a nap.
And, as always, whenever Easter arrives, there is this enormous rush of gratitude -- and my evangelical roots come running out, waving their hands and crying "Thank you, Jesus!"
Silly, I know. But such a wonderful part of life...