I think a good illustration to represent what life’s about is the idea that when we are born we are handed a blank canvas a paint brush and all the paints we want and we’re told to go paint something with our life, and then at the end of our time here we present what we’ve painted to the one who handed the items to us in the first place.
What I like about this view is it reminds me that I am the only one who ultimately chooses what my painting will finally look like …in other words, I have the ability to choose who I become.
In this respect I am the artist of my own life and the strokes of my paintbrush are the choices that I make. So, if something bad happens to me or I do something I regret then what I do with that mark on my canvas is still my choice. “My response to that is still my responsibility.”
If we can see our lives like this then we realize we still have the power to pick up our brush and create something beautiful from the ugly mark that we or others may have put there.
“My choices not someone else’s determines my future”.
I read this similar view from someone that experienced a terrible loss in their life;
“I felt like I was staring at a stump of a huge tree that had just been cut down in my backyard. That stump which sat alone kept reminding me of the beloved tree that I had lost. I could think of nothing but that tree. Every time I looked out the window, all I could see was the stump. Eventually however I decided to do something about it. I landscaped my backyard reclaiming it once again as my own. I decided to keep the stump there, since it was both too big and too precious to remove. Instead of getting rid of it I worked around it.”
What I really like about these illustrations is they remind me it’s not what happens to me that defines my life but how I respond to what happens, and even though I can’t go back to make a new past I still have the ability to make a better future.
If you’ve been around for a while, and I only need to glance at the mirror to realise I’m falling into that category, we begin to see that we needlessly increase our suffering when we allow one loss to lead to even more loss.
Another thing with being a ‘little’ older is, you start to realize that, yes, healing actually does take ‘time,’ but it’s not ‘time’ but the ‘choices’ I make that determines the progress towards that healing.
We live in a broken world with a healing God. My hope is that we don’t just look at the pain of what’s broken, but also at the potential of what with the healers help we can still create.