Creating Encounter in Colour: Blue Pool

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Come lay yourself down on this lilo of leisure, close your screen-weary eyes and float to somewhere lostly deep. The pool is azure punctured with zaps of lightning sun, refracted zig zags of gold lapping at the lapis lazuli tiles. All is Mediterranean wonder and bright cobalt ceramic.

Feel the celestial coolness below you, imagine how the floor of heaven must feel to feet of bronze coming home after walking the earth on a summer’s day. Let your soul right itself, a Spirit levelled horizontally as you recalibrate your centre and plumb the depths in your mind’s eye. All other measuring can be released as the foolishness it is, attention given to cool turquoise surrounding you with softly undulating mammatus clouds of water, ripples kissing your sun-drenched skin and imparting life to arid places.

text © K Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Honey

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They are gentle souls we slip into like a gateway to that idyllic childhood we never had, always patiently waiting. He sits spooning hunny from one pot into another, often missing by way of his mouth.  A bear does need to eat after all, and there is quality control to think of.

Like Jonathan in the forest, your eyes will sparkle anew on eating the sacred gathered gold poured from flowers. Tea and story time is all a-drip with butter, honey and imagination, running and plentiful, deliciously treacled on toast, drizzled on scones and sustaining us through the reality of being grownups, which, frankly, is bothersome.

And in the middle of Rabbit’s rabbiting and Owl’s pontificating and Eeyore’s gloom, unperturbed by Tigger’s bouncing and Roo and Kanga’s family, holding hands with Piglet’s blinching, is rotund saffron Pooh, calmly joyful and serene, reminding us that wisdom and tolerance are better than even just a little brain.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Composite art by R R Wyatt  © used with permission.

 

Creating Encounter in Colour: Red Shoes

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The red shoes hang on a nail by their trailing ribbons, looking innocent for all the world, though no-one is looking at them today but this tired old ballerina. She knows them only too well and will not be fooled again. New, they were the colour of nascent shell, or the inside of a kitten’s ear, all velvet oyster pinkly grey. Nude as Eve’s Edenic soles, and probably as old. Once worn and worn once, they ripped en pointe feet to shreds and quickly filled with scarlet offerings.

The world will not cease its vampiric feasting, once it has begun to make you dance to its manic tunes. Our only hope is to rip the ribbons that seemed so delightful from our calves, and tear the suckering soles from our souls. In one wrench, band-aid like tossed aside, or hung here on the wall like trophy antlers, the hooks that barbed us.  Only the free can see them for what they are, and the rest gawp at the bloodied rags, astonished that we no longer wear them.

We refuse to dance ourselves to death, and now walk healing paths in streams and forests, barefoot. If we must wear red shoes, they will be ruby slippers that have sequins missing, and when tapped together, take us home.

 

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Composite art by R R Wyatt © used with permission.

Creating Encounter in Colour

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Shortly after I began practising prayer and meditation as a central part of my life rather than an “add-on” the Lord started talking to me about colour. He reminded me how my favourite film as a child was The Wizard of Oz and hinted that my life was soon to be transformed from black and white to glorious Technicolor in the same way that the world changes for Dorothy when she travels from Kansas to Oz. After living so many years in what seemed a grey and deserted wasteland suffering with M.E. this came as very welcome news. The Lord drew out of me the realisation that colour is something that makes my heart leap.

As a child one of the most exciting things I could possibly find in a shop was a set of colouring pens or pencils. The range of pens all lined up shouting out their colours like a packaged rainbow was thrilling to me. It made me joyful. As an adult I had my capacity for joy stolen from me for a long time, due to this long and terrible illness and a crushing divorce. For years, my only consolation was doing cross stitch. The huge range of colours of embroidery thread were soothing to my soul, as was the act of creating. Next came a new, loving husband, thank God, and my new hobby, crochet, and although I could only do a very little at a time, the colours of all the yarn were balm to my wounds.

For my 40th birthday seven years ago, my parents bought me a retreat at Aylesford Priory in Kent. This was before my latest relapse which has left me almost entirely housebound. But back then, when I was sitting in the Relic Chapel which has the most beautiful coloured stained-glass windows (see my photograph above). I was thinking about prayer and colour when I felt the Lord strongly imprint a commission on my heart and I knew it was to be a writer. The first thing he wanted me to write about was colour. I duly wrote a short book which brought me great joy.  I’ve not yet been able to publish it, since it needs colour printing which is very expensive!

Three years ago, the Lord brought out of me a talent for art, and no-one was more surprised than I! My passion for colours had finally found its full outlet. I am deeply grateful. A few times over the years I have come back to writing here and there about my heart for colour, but now seems a good time to marry that with my love of art and photography, and this blog about Creating Encounter with God as well as resurrecting bits and pieces from that very first book.

My intention, God and health willing, is to post a piece a week on both this blog and at Fresh Mercies, of my trademark poetic prose, reflecting on colour as prayerful meditation. I hope that you will find your heart lifted and enjoy my little offerings. See you next week for piece one!

God bless you,

Keren

 

Creating Encounter in Colour

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Firstly, apologies for the blog having taken a short break. My M.E. has been so bad that I have got very little writing done and I have had to let some things slide. I have also taken some time to pray into how to keep up this weekly blog. The outcome will be about how we create encounter God in colours, which is something close to my heart. I will be sharing a piece once a week on here and on my Fresh Mercies blog, all being well, and now and then adding extra pieces here (including guest writers) at Lakelight on the continuing theme of encounter. I hope you will enjoy the journey!

(photo from Pixabay of the Glory window in the Thanksgiving Square Chapel at Dallas)

Creating Encounter: In Music

By Rowan Wyatt

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“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” Eph 5: 19-20

 

From Mozart to Motorhead, Beethoven to the Beatles, music is everywhere and with modern technology you can have it performing into your ears every minute of the day. As someone who lives for music I do exactly that, my life is made up of music. Memories are triggered by it, emotions, thoughts and creativity and more are inspired by it.

I am lucky enough also to get another benefit from music for that is where I mostly have my encounters with God. I am very intuitive towards music and I will often ‘get’ something that the composer never intended. Take for example Vaughan-Williams’ “Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis”. Whenever I listen to this music I am transported immediately to be standing beside Mary as she watches her son die on the cross, I feel the raw and wild emotion as grief and love threaten to overwhelm me to the point of drowning. I never cry but when I am here.

It is moments like these that God uses to remind me who he is and who I am in him, what he has done for me and will continue doing so, for his love for me is stronger than Mary’s was for her son as he hung on that cruel scaffold.

It goes without saying that sacred choral works move me in faith as well, but they pale into insignificance next to how I feel when I am listening to plainsong and chanting, most often nowadays erroneously labelled Gregorian Chant.

I value music as a most highly prized treasure and I am so very pleased that God has chosen this way to reveal himself to me, to instruct and support me. Being a musician, I have been able to honour Him with singing and music of my own, nothing as amazing as the Vaughan-Williams but that isn’t important, the intent, the heart is what is important. A triangle played with love and joy is of far more musical value to God and us than a virtuoso violinist ‘going through the motions’.

As an atheist I would imagine Vaughan-Williams would be amused to hear what that piece of music does to me, but I wish to thank him for it, for though his composition I have come face to face with our saviour and fallen in love with him.

Text © R R Wyatt Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter: In the Waiting

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Today is Pentecost Sunday when we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples gathered in a house in Jerusalem, traditionally thought to be ten days after Jesus had ascended to be with the Father. Ten days and nights of waiting must have seemed a long time. It must have been a strange time, too. It was so generous of the Risen Christ to spend time with them all over a forty day period before his Ascension to make sure they were all certain of the truth.   I wonder if he had only given them fleeting glimpses, there might have been moments or hours, especially when they were trying to sleep, when this band of people would have wondered separately if they had been deluded. Had they really seen the Christ risen from the dead? He made sure they had had ample opportunity to test it out for themselves, to see and even feel his wounds, before doing what he must have longed to do, to take those hard-won battle scars home.

It was almost too amazing to contemplate. And yet, that is exactly what they had time now, to do. To think it all over, to mull, cogitate, meditate on all that had happened during their time with Jesus, and to think on how the Scriptures had been fulfilled. It must have been a time filled with the wisdom of hindsight.  “So that’s why he said that!” “I wondered what he meant by that, and now it is becoming clear!” A time of sharing wisdom and ideas, a time filled as well with “What now?”  Because they all knew they’d been told to wait for something, but they didn’t know what.

Jesus had told them, “ ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’ “ (Acts 1: 4-5)

The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is when we say the Church was truly born. But I find that short gestation period when the worshippers all met together and prayed, just as fascinating. Those in between times, those waiting times, those times when we are holding on to faith that God will act but have no real idea of what he will do. Those times probably tell us more about where we are spiritually than how we react to outpourings of blessing.

I’ve read a sermon recently where Peter was criticised for backwards thinking in using some of this time to replace Judas with another disciple. But I think that if nothing else it showed great faith, because he was already preparing for the existence of the Church. He was already acting so that all he could do was in place. He knew that this was just the beginning.

In my life, it is a time of waiting on God. It has been for years, but right at this point there are a number of things which may or may not bring great change. Whilst it might seem like living in Limbo, or being sat motionless in the doldrums, the best way I can hold on to my faith is by preparing. I don’t know what for, any more than Peter truly did, but I can put as much in place as possible, so that when God moves, I know I won’t be totally ready, but I can be getting there. Like an athlete who knows there is going to be a competition, I can exercise and practice. Like a chick who has no idea what flight is, I can still follow that instinct to prepare to flap my wings and start venturing out along branches. However still the wind might be now, God is always about to breathe.

 

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt Photo from Pixabay

Art Exhibition for M.E. Awareness

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Hello lovely readers! Something a little different this week, as I’ve been too exhausted to organise this AND write a blog post.  You are invited to an online art exhibition running for a week to raise awareness for this hideous illness that has stolen 22 years of my life. Artists with M.E. like myself, many of whom are housebound or bedridden, will be contributing pieces over the seven days.

12th May is M.E. awareness day when the M.E. community, our allies, friends, family and carers will be asking why so little is being done to help discover what the cause of the disease is, and what might alleviate or even cure us. We need governments and health services to take us seriously enough to invest in research and support. We need to be seen and heard! One of the campaigns running highlights just how many of us are hidden away, housebound or bedridden, or living half lives, often in a world of one room.

#MillionsMissing #CanYouSeeMENow?

To view the exhibition, click on the link below and then on “Discussion.” Thank you!

https://www.facebook.com/events/249755015596764/

 

picture from Pixabay.

Creating Encounter: In the Bathtub

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If we can welcome God into anything at all, can we even ask him into mundane things like bathing and showering? I believe we can.  It’s not that long since Maundy Thursday, when we remember Jesus washing the Disciples’ feet. Many churches and Christian bodies choose to commemorate this act of love by having the priests or ministers do the same for members of their congregation or the local community. But this act of Jesus, done on the same night as those feet would, in almost all cases, run away and even betray him, is also an act of cleansing and of grace.

Jesus knew what was going to happen. He had tried to explain it many times to his followers. Still he chose to symbolically show this band of men that his servant heart could reach down even to touch and minister to their dusty smelly feet, and if that was possible, then maybe their Lord and ours might even condescend willingly to cleanse our dirty but contrite souls.

Washing for me has been an exhausting and difficult business since I got ill over twenty years ago. I’ve not been able to bathe myself or wash my own hair since my last relapse over two years ago, and so I have to rely on my husband to do it for me. We have a system that’s working okay, and a bath cushion from social services that can lift me in and out when I am too weak to even do that. It is hard to have no independence in any area, but this one is particularly galling.

I used to enjoy a long hot bubble bath, or, back when I could stand for long enough (before I was ill) an invigorating power shower. I would love to be able to do those things again, unaided, and feel really clean and fresh every day. If I could, I don’t think it would be something I’d ever take for granted, much as anyone who has had to live without running water could also make gratitude a great part of their ablutions.

As it is, love washes me. Love patiently helps me in and out, washes me gently, dries me with care. I am blessed to have someone love me in this helpless state, and to do so without any hint of pity. Vulnerability and dependence both generate a deep humility and gratitude. Every time, it reminds me of the kind of love that God administers to us by his grace and I am so thankful. Yes, it is difficult, and yes, I pray beforehand that we will be helped, because it is so exhausting and I always feel nauseated by the physical effort and hot water, but because each time an uncomplaining kindness is extended to me, this too is made an encounter with our loving God.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter: Sculpture

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I have an unlikely ambition for someone as weak and disabled by chronic illness as I am; I should like to sculpt. I have ideas for wood, stone and bronze, that would be pieces of interactive art. I don’t know if they will ever be a reality, and if I ever did have the space and resources, it would be most likely that someone else would have to do the lion’s share of the work. Nothing is impossible with God of course, but some things do seem so far removed from likelihood as to be, not so much pie in the sky, but as we say in our house, flan on the moon.

What is the appeal of sculpture, and how might we let God teach us through it? I think that the idea of carving a substance until it is exactly the shape it ought to be, the one we envisage in our minds or imaginations, is a great analogy for understanding how our Father shapes each one of us, if we will allow ourselves to be moulded by his artist’s hands. The Bible speaks of him as the potter, with us as the clay, and we can take great hope from this idea, knowing that when God throws a pot, no matter how it initially splats on the wheel, or how lopsided it might look during the spinning, when the master is done with us, we will be perfectly ourselves.

The same is true if we see God as the great sculptor, finding us as a slab of marble and hewing us into some kind of rough shape before chipping away and then smoothing us out into the shape that was hiding in the grain of the stone all the time. Michelangelo said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” as well as, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

Perhaps when we learn to see with God’s eyes we might be able to perceive the angel that is standing before us in the marble of our fellow human beings, and even occasionally to glimpse them in the mirror. For some reason, God has decided that our true selves are worth setting free, and however hard it is to let him keep on working upon us until that image arises out of the raw material, it will be worth it in the end.

Maybe we might even consider the work of kenosis or self-emptying as giving God free rein with the chisel, and accept that a great deal needs to be let go. Once our outer defences and ego are chipped away, maybe an angel might step out into the light. For God, that beautiful person was there all along, and the layers that trapped him or her, were no barrier to his sight.

For the first forty years of my life, I doubted there was a writer hidden away in me. For the first forty-four, I had no idea I was an artist. Do you think one day God might uncover the sculptress too? What wonders are hiding in you, that might be set free by heavenly hands chiselling away at your earthly rock?

 

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt Photo from Pixabay