Thursday, February 12, 2015

While waiting for bone to knit


 We have a new piece of art – Heavenly Bodies – a painting acquired from Shaun LaRose. The fact that he is our son-in-law has nothing to do with how accomplished he is and how beautiful his work. This particular painting is in a place where I can look at it everyday and be reminded that none of us are alone in the brokenness we bear in our bodies. It also reminds me that no matter how pitiful I think my life – this is not the end of the story as we wait along with so many others for the restoration and healing of all things.
Heavenly Bodies
Heavenly Bodies detail
Shaun explains:
Both my wife and son suffer with chronic illness. At an early age my son has to experience pain, fatigue and sometimes a resulting depression. We pray for healing, longing for healthy bodies but know God’s story often coincides with our suffering. Yet, we long with eager expectation for the heavenly bodies we will receive when all things will be made new.

I painted this over a paint by number of Renoir’s ‘Luncheon of the Boating Party’ to signify the divide, or as my wife puts it The Fog, that lies between those who are in good health and those who are dealing with pain. Bordering each side of the image are x-rays that depict lower esophagitis, the chief source of pain for my son Kaiden. As I worked on this design I considered the regrowth of new flesh through cellular reproduction and thus you will see the pattern of cellular growth in the background. Lastly, the frame itself was constructed with the idea of icons or objects of prayer in mind. I thought about the small catholic prayer petition stations and desired to make an object that evoked intercessory prayer for those around us who experience chronic pain and broken bodies.


This week I had to come to an unwelcome decision - I’m not going to the L’Abri conference in Rochester where we reconnect with people each year. There have been some complications with healing - the incisions on my ankle have become infected and the bone regrowth is slower than we hoped so I’m not yet allowed to put weight on my leg. I thought around all the angles of how to make it work. Perhaps it was the vision of that long hallway with a slight downgrade that runs from the elevators to the ballroom where the lectures are held that made me face reality. I could see myself on my kneeler, brakes smoking, people jumping out of the way as I careened past. The logistics of being there ended up not being feasible.

I am disappointed. At times I have managed to be content with immobility and pain and I tell myself I am determined to learn more about accepting that this is where God has me for now, so relax. But the next moment I say, what the heck? And I toss it out in favor of being depressed with this mess of rotten bones.

Shaun’s painting proposes that we look with a keener eye and heart at bodies that suffer brokenness in this life. I’m looking.

6 comments:

Hannah said...

It's beautiful on many levels. I'm sorry for your suffering, and that of your daughter and grandson. I do feel a kinship with you and your broken ankle, after our fall with Tom's broken ankle. May those little incisions heal quickly, and the bone too.

liz said...

Beautiful art. Beautiful words.
If it makes you feel any better, we are not going to L'Abri either this year because our littlest one doesn't one to sleep through the night, and I didn't want to inflict that hassle on anyone else. We're disappointed not to be going - and your sessions are typically among my favorites. So it's a consolation to me that at least I won't be missing out on you and your wheel-smoking kneeler.

Sarah! said...

We missed you this year, Margie. I hadn't read your blog post until now, though I quickly realized you weren't at L'Abri when as I was sitting waiting for your talk, you did not appear and some random person passed the room to say you weren't there. Whoops! (I wasn't paying attention.) We missed seeing and hearing you! And we are praying for your healing and recovery and peace!!!!

Amber Bailey said...

Hi Margie- this quote from your article exactly sums up my position in a new job right now,"I am disappointed. At times I have managed to be content with immobility and pain and I tell myself I am determined to learn more about accepting that this is where God has me for now, so relax. But the next moment I say, what the heck? And I toss it out in favor of being depressed with this mess of rotten bones." I can't tell what balm your writings are in the many seasons of life! Much Love- Amber Swearengen Bailey

Amber Bailey said...

Hi Margie- A quote from you here exactly sums up my new job- "I am disappointed. At times I have managed to be content with immobility and pain and I tell myself I am determined to learn more about accepting that this is where God has me for now, so relax. But the next moment I say, what the heck? And I toss it out in favor of being depressed with this mess of rotten bones." Thank you for the balm that your writing is in every season of life. Much love- Amber Swearengen Bailey

Margie Haack said...

Hannah, truly one of the benefits of this has been to increase my awareness of and compassion for those who have broken their bones. I hope Tom has completely recovered.

Liz, some day soon, you'll be sleeping all night, I promise. And thanks for the vote of cheer.

Sarah, I'm sorry you sat in an empty room. I so wish I'd been there, too! Hope you found the conference encouraging otherwise. Of course, there was one I could count on - named Denis. :)

Amber, I think what you say is such a complement, because what I'm after as a writer and person of faith is to find those universals that bring us together out of the wind of loneliness, and sometimes failure to recognize the presence of God in our sometimes miserable lives. Does that sound too morose? I don't mean it to be!