Updated: Dec 22, 2018
I love this picture taken one day while with friends at a park in Nashville! As soon as I pulled the photo out of the envelope after developing it, the phrase jolted through my head... “ Sometimes true beauty is so close it is at the tip of our nose?” How true that is! The more I study and ponder the photo, I come to a greater realization of how much this picture is like many of us! We stare off into the distance awaiting some grand adventure or something to fill our empty longings and appetites for “more”! Yet these insatiable longings for “more” always seem so elusive! Our hope often seems set on some far off horizon or on the hope of tomorrow being “the day”!!! We ache for “the day” of the fulfillment of these illusive dreams that stir inside of us... whatever they are!
I love that it is a dandelion on the tip of Pablo’s nose... or actually between his eyes... which is even closer than being on the “tip of our nose!” Dandelions to me represent childlikeness, sweetness and unconditional love! Walking with a little boy outside one day, I felt such contagious joy as he gathered all the bright-faced dandelions that his little hands could find. He was so elated and proud! To him, in his childlike innocence, they were just as beautiful and exciting to behold as a bouquet of roses!
The dandelion also represents what is true in our lives! the loving smile & sparkling eyes of a friend, a glance that holds a thousand words unspoken, musical laughter that bubbles from deep within the soul, a “real” hug (the kind where the fragrance of the other persons heart mingles with the fragrance of yours... creating a sweet aroma), a kindred-spirit that weathers the storms of life and refuses to leave, God’s voice whispering secrets through the wind, and conversations that reveal the deepest things and yet leave us feeling saturated by love.
I am an advocate of dreaming and having great aspirations! But so often we then miss the hidden treasures in each day and every season. We become obsessed with what we want and the attractive little package we wish for it to come in. God’s plans could very well be wrapped in an awkward little dandelion. There is something so exquisitely breathtaking about a child blowing on a whisper-puff dandelion. Each seed of hope is loosened by a child breathing out faith-filled anticipation knowing that the wind will capture those seeds... allowing the child to watch in eager expectation as they relinquish all control to the mysterious paths of the wind.
This photo causes me to desire to delve for “true” beauty surrounding me... to search out all the gifts and expressions of God’s heart sent to me every day. I long to inquire deeper into the simple pleasures... to grasp ahold of again the childlike wonder of life.... savoring each moment, all of creation, this season of life, my friends, my job, my home, etcetera! Pablo and the dandelion evoke in me a sense of hope and expectancy as well as a great desire to take my eyes off the very elusive future and embrace today!
“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in You.” Psalm 39:7
“Be at rest, once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Psalm 116:7
Just like our own lives, there are things hidden in this painting. Those who merely glance at this painting merely see a dog with a fun, colorful background. But, there are several things hidden. God has knit your live together with love and deep passion. There are paintbrush strokes made to look like a hand stitched quilt. We are created bring warmth to others lives much like a warm quilt on a chilly night.
There are stick figures with their arms raised in surrender. Some look like flowers about to bloom and there are two that are cactus-like people with hats on! It is a beautiful thing when we surrender our gifts and lives to God. If anything in the painting slightly resembles a person with hands extended in surrender, it was probably intended to be one. I believe God hides things in nature... treasures He wants to draw us closer with.
The stick figure people also represent my heart towards God when life circumstances disappoint or relationships don't fill the depths of my soul. Earthly relationships can leave us with an deep ache. No one can "get us" like God. Not our spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, any relative or friend! None of them can be there to capture every tear or feel every sorrow. No one can be there each moment you feel excited and want to share something. And most often, no one can feel those moments as deeply as you do.
I have a few friends that have been there with the tears fall and the pain of life circumstances leave my soul aching and broken. Those same friends I can share my creative expressions with and they delight alongside of me. But, the ONLY One that can be there always is God! So to Him, I raise my arms to receive His perfect and eternal love that surpasses any love on earth.
There are miniature flames that are camouflaged within the design. You and I were created to light our world with God's love and light. I placed little swirls in the paisley patterns to point to eternity. Life seems long on earth, but eternity is forever! Whatever trial or pain we experience, as well as every joy, will be forgotten. I try to remember to remind myself of this when tears fall or daily stresses or anxieties seek to rob me of joy!
Then there are slightly lacy borders on the paisley designs, floral patterns, crosses and hearts everywhere throughout the painting. The Creator of our universe, with all of it's brilliant galaxies, has love so vast for us that is knit throughout nature and into our lives. He hides love notes... we just have to be looking and searching to find them! We are like a garden to Him (weather we feel frayed and weather or like we are blooming in springtime). And He has fashioned beautiful flowers for us as an expression of His intensely deep and passionate love.
Everything I hide is my "favorite" thing (much like God when He creates us). The order I share is not indicative of their importance in the painting. They are all significant and important! So one of my "favorites" is what is hiding in Pablo's eyes. Stop reading! Scroll back up and see if you can find it!
What I like about this is that if you didn't see it upon the first glance, it is because it is like a catchlight. The catchlight is the light reflected in a person's eyes. An exaggerated example of that is sunglasses. Sometimes, you can see your own silhouette or face in someone else's sunglasses! So this is meant to remind us that when we take our eyes off of earthly things and gaze at God and soak in the wonder of who He is, we will begin to know His heart and love what He loves. Our priorities will become His!
So what did you see? What is His heart? What captures the entirety of His soul? The nations of this earth! Every person who breathes! He gazes back at us with longing for us to make others our priorities. That will look different for all of us! Life feels like a gerbil wheel to me sometime. But, I want to, with "pit bull faith", seek to be intentional in finding ways to show His heart to people at the grocery store or as I am out doing errands. I want to be intentional in nurturing a heart for others into my son.
Though I have reached the end of revealing the treasures I hid in this painting, I pray you will be reminded of these truths as you go on with your life. Start looking for God's love notes for you! Surrender your heart in whatever season you are in. If you don't understand the depths of God's love for you, start pursuing Him through reading the Bible. Pray for godly friendships that will point you to Him. And make Him known... go light your world with kindness and love. Never forget... you are His treasure and there are great and wonderful things hiding inside of you! Seek Him... He has much He wants to reveal!