Wednesday, October 29, 2008

With Open Hands

Sleep has been a bit elusive this last week. I had hoped that would change once I was no longer feeling the impulse to wake up and check on Pippa, but the night after she died was no better.

It took forever to fall asleep, and I kept waking up. At 4:30 am I awakened again and thought about giving up and going downstairs, but decided I really needed more sleep. And as I lay there, drifting off again, I saw in my mind's eye a statue, gray, of a monk, his arms outstretched, palms up, in welcome. Ah, I thought, it must be Saint Francis, welcoming Pippa.

I woke again at 5:30, realized I was still too tired to get out of bed (though this is my usual wake-up time) so I rolled over, and again, there he was, draped in monk's robes, welcoming; accepting.

I saw the statue again at 6:30, and finally at 7:20 rolled out of bed and embarked on the day. My breakfast reading wasn't working for me, and when I tried to meditate thoughts of what to blog about kept intruding. So when I finally sat down at the computer I decided it was time to admit I was in mourning, so I put up that last Pippa photo and kept it brief. But in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about St. Francis, and knew I wanted to publish him today.

The odd thing is, I never found him. I've looked through all my Italy pictures, both from this trip and the two excursions to Venice, and I've looked through the other file folders that have statues and art in them. And this image I saw so clearly doesn't exist.

I only found four images with arms extended in that welcoming posture: one of God, seated; one of Mary, in full color; one of a goddess (could it be Anubis?) with lots and lots of breasts; and this one of Jesus, seated. None of the saints, popes, monks, nuns and bishops were making this welcoming gesture.

So where did my statue come from? And why is this gesture so rare, when seeing it brings such peace? Surely if humans long so much for acceptance and connection -- to feel forgiven and welcomed into a body of love -- they would paint and sculpt a representation of that?

Writing this, I remember, back in the day when I was doing a lot of fabric art, a vision I had of a work of wall art which I never created. It was to be a head shot -- face, neck, and shoulders -- with stuffed arms that extended out of the picture, and velcro on the fingertips, so you could step into it, wrap the arms around you, and clasp the hands together. Perhaps it's time to execute that in a full-body standing version.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yayy for sewing! You should totally do that. I can imagine that would be a little creepy though.

Also I'm so curious to see this "Anubis" character of yours! Esp. because Anubis is the scribe *god* XD Where'd you take it?