All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Part of my journey with this painting was exploring what this young girl was praying for. Watched by her puppy and a rabbit angel, I imagined many possibilities, but came to no real conclusion. For me, the closest thing to real prayer is when I am lost in a painting, or working in the garden, but it’s not lost on me that those sublime moments of quiet don’t happen very often.
Oftentimes I find myself in conversation with something larger than myself, but I don’t always feel comforted by that exchange. Usually, I am confounded by an underlying anxiety, often over things I cannot control. I try to squelch that anxiety with food or hitting the swim lanes fast and furious or working too much. Then, I talk to God. And, as I am busy talking to God, I’m equally busy not listening because the language of anxiety thinks it knows better and can be so much louder.
Being that little girl of hope and wonder and imagination whose distance from God is infinitely smaller in length than my own is often just a memory, not an actuality. Time has a way of dismantling innocence. It’s there somewhere, but it’s gets buried in the day to day throes of living. As I listen to the incessant rhetoric in our politics, or the negative assertions that we are doomed, I turn to the children I see daily in my work. They have a joy and and innocence that tells me not to give up, or give in to the thinking that life is hopeless. If I did, what am I saying to them?
God, life, whatever you call the mystery larger than us, usually has a better plan than we do. There is nothing to lose if we take a moment to reconsider the possibilities that exist beyond our busy chatter and well-laid plans. Like this little girl in prayer, perhaps the answers lie in the splendid silence waiting to speak to us when we stop talking and begin to listen.