Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Colors of Hope for a Happy New Year!

"Ah," says my artist friend, "all those greens, in their various shades, are just blends of blue and yellow.  There are infinite shades of green, but each is nothing more than a blend."  She goes on to tell me that red, blue, and yellow are the three colors from which all colors derive.  I continue to listen, but behind the curtain of polite attention, my mind has gone theological, as I ponder the complexity of God's laws in Israel; ten commandments, which, in the hands of scholars, became 613 interpretations, which then spawned volumes and volumes of thought.  The complexity of it can get a little overwhelming.  I wish the obtuse and multifaceted nature of what God is calling us toward could, like colors, be reduced down to three "primary colors" from which all God's ethics, and priorities, and plans could be derived.  Then I remember:
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
"All the colors are a blend of these three," my artist friend says, her words calling me back to the present for an instant.  I ponder the reality that marriages healed, wells dug, schools and hospitals built, generosity practiced, weapons laid down in the pursuit of reconciliation, apartheid ended, literacy increased, mentorships begun, homeless folks sheltered, meals cooked, toilets cleaned -- all are various blends of the principles here in Micah 6:8.  Every act of beauty carried out in Christ's name derives from a blend of these, God's three primary colors.

   --- Richard Dahlstrom, The Colors of Hope: Becoming People of Mercy, Justice, and Love

The juxtaposition of justice and beauty has fascinated me for many years, so I'm thrilled to be reading a book calling Christians to "be artists who paint with the colors of hope in a broken world."  I'm looking forward to reading the section on "Creating Art While Life Happens."

I know I'm an amateur at just about everything.  Even after mothering for more than a quarter of a century, I still feel like a kindergartner finger-painting and block-building my way through bringing beauty and justice into my own home.  And even with all of the teaching and writing I do (whether at home, in the classroom, or on-line), I sometimes feel like I'm speaking another language.  I just bought some pencils with the George Bernard Shaw saying, "The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place."  Am I just babbling in even the most heartfelt conversation?

Maybe so.

But I'm going to keep trying in 2013: growing past cynicism into more faith and love, creating a nurturing home for my family, helping my children with their academics and life skills, teaching English in a home school co-op, writing life observations and essays and poems for my blogs, taking and editing pictures to bring message through image.  I will keep musing and then acting on beauty and justice, whether it is just the mundane within my four walls, or something wild and way beyond.

I want to, as Sara Groves sings, "add to the beauty, tell a better story, shine with the light that is burning up inside."

If you can't see the video below, click here:

Please also take a peek about my other musings on justice and beauty.

  • Just Beauty
  • Beauty and Diversity on an Autumn Sunday in Maryland
  • A Note Wedged into the Window on My Van (And a Fresh Advent Poem)
  • Out of Africa and Into My Classroom: Rwanda and Reconciliation
  • "With Literature and Justice for All" Workshop Videos
  • Corpus Christi
  • Do Cry
  • Diary of a Mom's Day in D.C.: Holocaust Museum, Asian Art, Metro Crash
  • "If" by Rudyard Kipling
  • We Live in Deeds, Not Years...
  • Advocating for the Vulnerable Series on Watch the Shepherd Blog

  • Please also visit the New Year's posts at two of my favorite blogs....

    With beauty and justice for all,

    P.S. My 11 year old daughter and I created the tie dye handkerchief at the top of this post, along with several T-shirts, a tote bag, and an apron.  The picture is my contribution to P52 / Sweet Shot Tuesdays.  If you would like to see my pictures from last year, click here: P52 Photos 2012.

    P52 Sweet Shot Tuesday with Kent Weakley

    I love what one of the other Sweet Shot contributors posted here: Welcome 2013 

    My other favorite picture of the week is from roasting marshmallows in our backyard last night for New Year's Eve -- my husband's sweet way of creating warm memories for our children.  Can you see the marshmallow there in the middle of the flame?

    Marshmallow in the Middle


    1. beautiful colors - Happy New Year!

    2. Happy New Year Virginia! I enjoyed reading your 2013 blog post and love the tie dyed hankie! Thanks for visiting my blog.

    3. Ah, you communicated with me! That verse has vital significance for me, and your relating it to the three basic colors paints it even more fully to life! Wow. Thanks! Visiting from today's faulty link-up at Sandy's Still Saturday.

    4. Happy 2013 Virginia!! Thanks for linking up over at WholeHearted Home this week. The tie dyed hankie reminds me of the 70s when I tie dyed a T-shirt :-)


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