Since my youngest years, a few of my favorite things have been fresh boxes of crayons, markers, pencils, pens, or anything else I might use for creating. Middle school art class and club were highlights of my life, since each day brought a new lesson: sculpting, paper mache, tin reliefs, iron-ons, etc. etc. And there was no expectation for me to carry on a conversation with anyone else whilst creating.
Those moments were havens.
Adult responsibilities have left me little time for art these days, but the few nights I spend sketching are usually inspired by the inter-workings of grace with human wills (hearts). In particular, the person whose life inspires me repeatedly is that one woman whose life illustrates that mystery bar none: Mary.
In my later teens, exploring a call to the religious life, I was constantly sketching Mary.
My guess: Sketches are the visual wanderings of an artist’s inner self. Those thoughts, wishes, questions, and wonders closest to our souls somehow find their way out through a sketch. Sketches are exploratory.
As I find my way through life, I am both surprised and taught by the relationship between grace and human choice. Mary’s life continues to both surprise and teach me. The more I grow as a woman, a daughter, a sister, and wife, the more my heart calls out to Mary.
But that calling out to Mary isn’t some mere sentiment. What I mean is: The more I’m confronted with frustrating, confusing, humiliating, painful, [etc.] situations, the more my human will cries out to the woman whose own will knows those situations well—and successfully cooperated with grace.
Each day, my will is confronted with grace. Do I ignore it? Do I allow it to cover me like wind hugs the curves of a hillside? Do I allow it to enter into and cooperate with me? How do I do any of it?
Mary’s life is my continued meditation, inspiration, and—ultimately—mission. What’s yours?
Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
Let it be done unto me as you have said.