Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Jesse Tree: Mother of All Living
I'll have to admit, this one put it to me. Today's ornament represents "The Mother of Living. " The symbol is Mary. Ha! Didn't have her with the Reformed Church patterns I used yesterday for a short cut. But that's okay.
I had a lot of time to reflect on my journey as I worked since I couldn't seem to get her right. I wanted to do well by her. She means a lot to me. I didn't always love her. I was horrified by her, and considered her, "just a vessel." Though I'd probably have a hissy fit if one of my own kids referred to me as such. I had a long way to go. Then I went "high church". Orthodox! I remember I used to watch how my Godmother vernerated the Theotokos icon and in prayer. So beautiful. So tender. I didn't understand it, but for some reason, deep in my soul I wanted it. I think I've missed having a mother for many years now. A woman needs a mother.
So, there I was creating my heart out tonight, sick, and wracked with pain. Praying. Hard work, but I'd have a beautiful design, finally! And then at the very end, something would go wrong. I had the perfect image for the scripture in Genesis (3:14a) "The Lord God said to the serpent, 'I will put emnity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." There was this wonderful image of the Mother of God with her head on the serpents head. I thought it was kinda sassy! I got it all fixed up, and at the last minute, smeared it. Then I had to find another "perfect" image, and ended up losing the snake from the first one. I had to pause. I'm not a seasoned artist. I'm clumsy with materials. I have no idea what I'm doing. How did this relate to the spiritual life?
Mary really is amazing. She may even be sassy, but she is not arrogant. She is humble, humble enough to have God's baby. But I wasn't getting that. I needed to pause. Remember how I really see her in my heart.
I say this prayer now, before I get started with my ragamuffin art. It's similar to the prayer I say when I wake up, before I pray the first office of the day, "Lord, open my lips. And my mouth shall proclaim your praise." Before I create I pray, "Lord, open my heart. And the works of my hands shall praise you." Amen.
More reflection now. I consider my trying to make good, do a really beautiful image for the Blessed Mother, and I kept failing. I considered the first mother of all living, Eve. She too failed. But Mary, the second Eve, did not fail. Eve sinned. Mary obeyed. I believe both mothers take pity on this ragamuffin diva, trying so hard to bring beauty and meaning into my life. One mother, the first, knows my frailty and sinfulness. She relates to my inability to do what should be so simple. Another, the second Eve, Mary, now mother of all living, was very much human. She knows the strength it takes to persever and be good. To do good. I drew strength from both of them.
A woman needs a mother. More than one, sometimes.
Finally, I pulled out some fabric swatches and put a touch of lace into the work, which softened it. I used a tiny catalog image of an icon. She is not standing on the serpent's head here. No, she is being a mom, gazing into the face of her son. She always, in her gentle way, calls us to look at, adore, consider Him. And He appears to stand upon her, His hand raised in blessing. And maybe in His own way, He is asking us motherless children to consider her. "Behold your mother." Just as He said to John.
I added a jewel, for I believe she is the jewel of heaven. And I gilded the nimbus of mother and Christ child with a gold gel pen. And there she was. Looking at Jesus. Soft and lovely. Simply being. The pink paper has real rose petals, so she's surrounded by roses. That is my Mama. She's the one I know, and who I needed to represent.
Still sick tonight. Nia Grace just vomited. I am so tired I don't even want to move, but I need to be a mother myself now. But I go with a little more joy for the journey. A little more peace. Mama came through, once again, in her quiet way, by the grace of the Holy Spirit. My soul is resting.