For Mother's Day my wonderful hubby hung up a bunch of pictures of our family, all blown up into different sizes and placed in various white frames in our living room. It looks beautiful.
Up until now we've not had any family photos framed, much less hung up. For some reason we're not picture people. Our house still looks nice, (so I think!) and filled with carefully collected items from around the world. Nothing is very valuable, but it's all worth a lot to me - carved lion bookends from Africa, a painting from Myanmar, bedspreads from Singapore, vintage signs, plates from South America, crocheted animals from Australia.
My spiritual director who I mentioned here is an Episcopalian. Her house is crammed full of icons, religious art, sculptures, paintings, and crosses. I love walking into her living room and immediately feeling connected to something larger than myself, something deeper than my personal style and tastes. Most of the paintings in her house are Byzantine icons. The paintings themselves are rather bare, almost ugly by some standards, yet symbolically speak of deep spiritual truths. Through looking at them I find myself connecting to the other largely unseen world of the spirit.
I have other friends as well who have lovely pictures of Jesus hung on their walls. My favorite is our Aunty Mary's "Laughing Jesus," beautifully sketched in pencil and charcoal. I helped her move a few months ago, and as she picked up the picture she said, "Let's bring Jesus!" I knew I liked this lady.
In these past few months I've become rather dissatisfied with what our house looks like inside. It doesn't need another paint color on the walls or different furniture. Instead, what it needs are a few windows to the spirit. I would like at least a few items around the house to help remind me of what's really important, to draw me into the deeper life, the life of the spirit within. I could really use some art (even homemade!) that invites me to see past the clutter of my life to the Life that speaks everlasting. The life of God. I used to think "religious art" was cheesy. Now I know better. I need it.
I need to see pictures of Jesus our shepherd, reminding me of the qualities of God's care. I want to see Jesus laughing, reminding me of his humanity. I need to see Jesus on the cross where I am struck by his sacrifice, Jesus as a baby held by Mary, where I find his vulnerability... I want to see pictures of the empty tomb, of Mary Magdelene, of the Emmaus Road.
On Monday afternoon, Dan, Theo and I are leaving for a six-week trip to visit the Philippines, the place where I grew up. We'll be staying at my parents' place, and I'll still be blogging for the duration of the trip. I'm excited. I hope to accomplish several things while we're there. One is to make sure Theo has a great time. Another is to not go crazy shopping. The last one is to make it a priority to "look" more. To try to gaze at stuff that calls me deeper - whether it be a rock, a picture of Jesus, a flower, or the starry night sky. To see. To allow my inner self be called home. And to follow the invitation.
I'll let you know how it goes.