Monday, March 14, 2011
This is a pencil drawing that hangs above my writing desk. It was created by a woman in the 1930's, a part of the Depression-era support for artists. My mother gave it to me a few years back. I treasure it for many reasons.
First and foremost, her gift made me feel very known. I have a thing about turtles - many people who know me know this. But I also have a passion for art, for history, for women learning to walk in whom they are called to be. This expression embodies all of these for me. My mother knew it would be meaningful, so she gifted it. That means more than the gift.
Secondly, it has a turtle. But not just any turtle - a tiny, two-inch turtle suspended in air. This image impacts me every time I behold it. Turtles are utterly fragile creatures with their soft underbellies. They are also incredibly strong and resilient. Over the millenia, they have developed strong protective measures - a thick, outer shell as it were. I can relate to that: soft on the inside but presenting a hard shell at first glance.
To know me, to know my softness, you have to look more closely. You have to make me feel safe so that you can approach me and flip me over. You have to be still and patient to draw my head out once it has retreated.
In this picture the turtle is suspended, held gently between two fingers, utterly helpless. It can do nothing but wait. I often think: "those fingers could so easily crush the little thing." Crush it. I feel frightened even thinking of it.
But, she - the woman with the fingers - doesn't crush it. She suspends it, raising it to a height it cannot know on its own, giving it a vantage point it would never achieve via a more solitary existence. There are many ways to interpret this moment of cradling, but I choose to interpret it with hope. In trust. When I look on this image, I am reminded: trust me.
The still, small voice - the one belonging to the One who could crush me if He so chose - reminds me, calls me, to trust. He is good and gentle and worthy. I need not be afraid. I am in good hands.
I'm linking up with Soli Deo Gloria today over at Jen's place. Take a minute to stop by - you won't be sorry!