"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?
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.
Please also visit the New Year's posts at two of my favorite blogs....
- This May Be the Best Year Yet by Julie Druck at Life in Skunk Hollow
- A New Year's Tradition: Decluttering Your Soul by Sally Clarkson at I Take Joy
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.
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?