Sunday 5 December 2021

Love is...

Here are some reflections I've had over the past week while doing some art. 👩‍🎨

Day 1:
I've had the idea to paint a rose to represent 'Love' for quite a while yet didn't have the courage to start cos drawing a rose is challenging!!! 😅 Well, this morning I had a brainwave and decided I would use a stencil 💡 

Easy peasy, or so I thought... here I am trying to create the stencil but it's much harder than I had imagined. It'll take much longer (and probably some arm pain along the way) to achieve. 😬

But isn't that what we've already been told? The first quality of 'Love' is that it is long-suffering ♥️ so please be patient with me as I continue working on this piece...

Day 2:
It's still work in progress but at least I managed to complete the making of the stencil after a whole day of cutting, slicing and carving - bit by bit 😅 

Ended up with not just arm pain, but also finger, wrist, shoulder and neck pain 😜 Reminded again of another quality of 'Love' - perseverance! 💪❤

Day 3:
I'm actually done with the artwork but thought I should feature the stencil (again... haha!) 

It served its purpose quietly, never calling attention to itself but giving the spotlight to the picture that's produced through it. And when it is finished, it's ready to be discarded with nary a complaint.

Just like 'Love', it does not boast and isn't self-seeking. Instead it is willing to sacrifice itself for the sake of the beloved.

Day 4:
Confession - while making the stencil I actually tore it at a couple of places. 😜 

But while using it, the stencil covered over my mistakes and there's no trace of them in the picture.

'Love' also holds no grudges and forgives everything. In fact, the greatest love of all has covered over and borne all our sins so we can be blameless. 

Day 5:
I know I'm really milking this 'object lesson' but while doing the art work, more and more insights came so I can't bear to waste all the wonderful analogies between the stencil and 'Love'. 🥰

For instance, while colouring in the spaces it's inevitable that I'll rub/push against the edges of the stencil, and some of the colour goes onto it. But when the stencil is lifted off, we see the picture formed through how the stencil had 'protected' specific areas of the paper. 

In the same way, 'Love' will always protect the beloved, often by setting boundaries and even taking on the harm. Sometimes the purpose may not be immediately apparent but if we try to shift/defy the boundaries, we may miss the picture entirely. 😅

Day 6:
Final lesson from the stencil before I reveal the artworks - promise! 😅 

Notice the plural? Well, after completing one picture I thought, "Why not do another one since the stencil can be reused?" And I did.

In fact, if I wanted to I could keep using the stencil again and again, and it would gladly continue to produce picture after picture.

In the same way, 'Love' keeps giving and giving without any concern for self. The focus is on the welfare of the beloved alone.

Day 7:
Ta da! Here it is (finally!) The first of two artworks created using the (by now all-too-familiar) stencil I've been talking about for the past few days. And how apt to end off with the final verse of the 'Love' chapter that I've been quoting from... ♥️♥️♥️

1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Day 8:
And here's the second picture produced by the 'famous' stencil that you've been reading about this past week. The quote is translated from Latin:

Omnia vincit amor: et nos cedamus amori” — Virgil, Ecl. 10.69

As we approach Christmas, I pray that we will all experience the greatest and truest 'Love' of all and that our hearts will soften and surrender to His Love. After all, as Christina Rossetti has written:

Love came down at Christmas,

Love all lovely, Love Divine,

Love was born at Christmas,

Star and Angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,

Love Incarnate, Love Divine,

Worship we our Jesus,

But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,

Love be yours and love be mine,

Love to God and all men,

Love for plea and gift and sign.

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