The end is just as beautiful as the beginning. I know right now that may be a little hard to believe.
I’ve only breathed for 20 years, so I don’t know much. But there has been a pretty consistent pattern in my life that I think is worth noting and worth laughing about.
Yesterday, I watched the graduation of one of my close friends.
I was sitting next to a friend of mine who graduated with me two years ago and as I looked over to her, we laughed and said “Remember what was going through our heads?” That day was so big to us. Just the rustle of a hat and the flick of the tassel, we were happily and swingingly walking into our new lives.
This was me at graduation and I’d love to tell you what was going through my head:
Later that night, I remember saying to my parents
“Now when I get to OSU, I’m going to look good every single day. I think I’ll get some new glasses but like…dress up every day. Yeah. That’s good. Oh and I want to be Student Body President…probably the president of CASNR too but we’ll see if I have enough time. Oh I could get a part time job too. I’ll probably marry my senior year.”
Then Jesus laughed.
I bet He had a great chuckle. One of those belly laughs that feel like your ribs have turned into paper and could collapse into your stomach. One of those good belly laughs.
None of that happened.
At the end of my senior year, I was sitting pretty and painting the perfect picture on my favorite canvas: success.
Then without any trouble at all, God slung buckets of blue and red failure and yellow-colored sadness and green specks of tears and mauve streaks of struggle and baby blue textures of happiness and joy and multi-colored dots of tear-filled laughter (a ton of those belly laughs) with an undertone of failed friendships and splashes of new ones.
He takes blood and wipes away shame, guilt, anxieties, loneliness. There’s a multitude of them. He whispers “I am with you always.”
And here I sit. In front of my new favorite canvas: loss of control. I don’t know where my paintbrush is. My hair is soaked in paint. I can only see out of one eye because God flicked some joy in the other. My favorite part of the way God paints, though, is that He whispers funny words while He does it.
With every stroke, all at the same time, He whispers “Love”
“I know what is best”
Sometimes He likes to take my canvas and get a huge wire cutter and go ham on the chains that holds it down and then chunks the chains out of the window.
I’m starting to think my idea of control is a complete illusion.
The end is just as beautiful as the beginning, and I know right now that may be hard to believe. I’m not at the end yet, I know that.
But I also know about my favorite painter.
He has held the same posture. He is not a painter that controls from a distance. No, He is one that tackles you and pours buckets crimson-colored love over your head.
He has painted micro-detail. He paints the detail in grains of wheat and the eyeballs of crabs. He paints the sound of a pillow as it hits your face in a pillow face. He paints the sound of laughter as it bubbles out of your mouth as lightly as a feather floating through His painted air.
He has painted macro-detail. He paints the detail of the planets and the universe. I’ll be honest, I don’t know a lot about that. It’s really really big.
Then, His favorite painting.
it is beautiful.
He calls His other paintings good. But He calls this painting “very good”.
He took a mirror and painted something of a self portrait. Laboring over “bones” and “atoms” and “gravity” and “toes” and “muscles” and “an EYEBALL”. Who even knows where “skin” ends but He painted it.
This beautiful painter. He chuckles at the thought of us thinking we have control over this painting of His.
The power of His name alone can frighten and comfort the most intimidating of them all. He humbles and makes us children again.
I’d like to say I’ve given up trying to paint my own picture, but I try to take the paintbrush daily. Then God takes a bucket of metallic lessons and sometimes splashes them on my face and other times pours it over my entire body until it shakes me to the bone.
I’m not who I swore I would be by now. I’m figuring it out. I may never figure it out by the end. That’s ok, because I will have my arms outstretched and body multi-colored.
I am a streetlight, but He is the sun. I am a firework, but He is thunder and lightning. I am human and am immersed in a world of short-lived pleasures and shadows. He is a painter of greatness and majesty.
Every morning, God screams at the sun to wake up. He whispers it to sleep. Every day the moon comes and every day He paints. He is the most consistent.
“I am the beginning and the end”
The end is just as beautiful as the beginning, and I know right now that may be hard to believe. But our painter will hold the same posture through and through, and I would rather have that consistency paint my picture over my feeble self any day.
We are His canvas.