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Saturday, July 16, 2011

You Finish the Story...

As I walked out of the shadows of my loneliness, I saw a man standing in the sunlight. His silhouette gently transformed into color as I cautiously approached him, and he turned to face me.

I have dreamed of this moment for all my life; albeit, I knew not what this moment would entail. I had been afraid of the exposure of my darkness. I have betrayed, lied, lusted, coveted, and stolen. My innermost thoughts had been evil, and I was most expecting this moment to be the cup of wrath I had deserved.

My expectations were proven wrong. What I thought would be shame from his countenance towards me was actually a simple smile. But not just any smile. A grin from ear to ear. Eyes wide and brows raised, as if he had been anticipating this moment for a long time.

At first I was tempted to turn around to see from whence I came, but the eagerness in this man's face was compelling me to remain the eye contact. And then, as small as a beam of light and as fast as it travels, a seed of passion was ignited deep within my soul. The desire for something I knew not drastically grew with an anticipation I had never felt.

He stared at me. He could not remove it, and in front of him was his canvas. He motioned for me to approach him, and I did. With a sudden newness of expectation I approached him and viewed his canvas. It was a painting of another world--another time. Another dimension, even. And I found myself wanting to be there.

Yet the painting was unfinished. I looked to him and asked about the unfinished part. It was as if his eyes spoke to me. He had applied the foundation of base colors and structure. He had supplied the architecture. Then he handed me the brush. It was my turn.

I looked at him with happiness, and grabbed the brush. With enthusiasm overwhelming my heart and my lungs full of fresh air, I applied my stroke of genius. But then I dropped my brush.

I had caused a stroke and the color was black. It ruined the painting, and I was heartbroken. I knew the man was disappointed in me. He needed someone who knew how to paint--someone with artistic talent and skillful hands. I admitted--I was neither. How foolish I had been to pretend to be someone I was not.

Then he lifted my face to see him. And he smiled at me. There was supposed to be anger, but I saw only gentleness. I had expected (and would have accepted) him to reject and remove me from his canvas. But he just smiled. Then he stooped down and retrieved the paint brush. He handed it to me and directed my attention back to the canvas.

He lifted his right hand to the black smear I had caused. As he wiped it clean, it was replaced with a bright crimson. Then he instructed me to continue to paint. But this time, I looked into his eyes as my brush created a beautiful masterpiece--a masterpiece where the center was a wave of red that brought out the other colors so magnificently.

And then he spoke. He said he was proud of me.

"But I messed up," I replied. And his returning comment reminded me that my black streak had been removed.

I stood back to see the whole canvas. I took in the entire picture. And that's when I realized the truth...

(You finish it. What is the truth? Conclude the story.)


  1. I realized the entire painting. every stroke of the brush, from top to bottom, was a series of black smears, covered over with crimson bringing out the colors in the whole of it. It was beautiful. Other worldly. I could barely contain the emotion overwhelming in me. It was then I knew, this was His plan all along. The Master artist had taken my mistake, our mistakes, and transformed them into something beautiful. All in His time. I wept. Joy unspeakable. I wept some more.

  2. But as I stared at the painting I saw something more, it wasn't just my mistakes He transformed, even the strokes of the brush I made while looking into His face were changed; were made glorious. I noticed on His pallette as He mixed the colors He added some kind of special Oil. It was golden in tone and vibrant, on the canvas, in the Sonlight, it appeared crimson, but on the pallette it was glistening gold. Every stroke of the brush was transformed by the special Oil; those made while looking in His face, and those smeared black while looking away. If I tried to use a color that hadn't yet been mixed with the Oil, on the canvas it faded away; as though I painted not. I asked Him what this was, "what is this special Oil?" He said, "It's Love, it's Joy, it's Peace... it's Life." I didn't understand. Then He said, "The life is in the Blood., It's full of Grace and Truth." I still didn't understand completely but I believed Him and it is glorious, and it is beautiful.

  3. I took time to look around as I painted; looking around, then looking full in His face I painted some more. As I painted we talked. Well not talked really; it was as though He knew what I was thinking and I thought I heard Him answer. In my mind, in my heart, I heard His Voice. The more clearly I understood what He was saying the more clearly I could see, and the further I could see. It was as though some great fog was lifting; I pleaded to see further. I was in some kind of huge magnificent gallery. There were paintings all around, ceiling to chair rail paintings; paintings that I recognized but they were different then I remembered. As He told me the names of the apprentices who made them I recognized them too, but they were different also, newer. Every painting was glistening with the special Oil and every one of them told a unique story; similar, true but very much unique. I was full of wonder and awe.
    My wonderment turned to fright as I saw further. As I looked, I noticed there were corridors leading off in every direction; in the corridors framed dull white canvases on every wall.
    “What are these”, I thought.
    “These are of those who cannot paint, who must paint, but they don’t know how.” His Voice replied.
    “but if they know not how, how shall they paint, and why is it that they must paint?”
    “Everyone must paint, if they paint not, they can have no part with Me. The empty canvases will be removed if they have not been touched, but for now I wait; I wait to see who will paint.”
    I was shocked, “But if they know not how to paint, how shall they paint?” I protested.
    “Someone must show them, someone must teach them, someone must lead them.”
    I understood… That someone must be me. Suddenly everything got bright, hot bright but not blindingly bright. Then it passed and I was home. After that my first and only thought was “I must teach them!!!” It burned within me like a refiner’s fire. “I must teach them!!!” And so I will.