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Pencils, Music, and Lyme

An anonymous gentleman from the 1850’s. Not my best portraiture ever, by any means, and rather incomplete, but my most recent attempt…two years ago….

Last evening, my sister gave me a music recording as a gift, which I decided to listen to this afternoon. But what I had been planning on doing in the meanwhile rapidly evaded me…instead, I reached up and grabbed the only pencil within reach and found myself scribbling on the paper in which she had wrapped the CD. This time it wasn’t flowers or dresses, though, as my doodles often emerge; it turned out to be a knight clad in thirteenth-century armor. It’s been quite a while since I’ve drawn anything, knights in particular, but that little drawing seemed to just flow out of Gabriel Hudelson’s music….

In the past, I have drawn portraits in colored pencil and even painted a few with oils. People have always been my favorite subjects for my artwork, though architecture and flowers are close behind. But as Lyme disease closed in on me, that bubbling creativity that I had called “mine” escaped from me. Yes, it fled quickly, with myself in hot pursuit — a pursuit that proved less than vain at the end. Then, as that happened and I continued to grow sicker, the very enjoyment of beautiful and creative things — whether music, art, poetry — simply left me. My favorite things slipped away. And my imagination wasn’t even left to me as I dropped the tools of the arts from my hands — my pencils and papers and paints, the inked up composition paper and my violin bow, and the flowing, rhythmic words….

I mourned these things for a while, but then I came to realize that this was where God has brought me for his own purposes and somehow, someday, for my own good, as well as for others. I also came to realize that it hadn’t ever been “my” creativity, per se, anyways — it was a gift from God which he had given to me to use. So I determined in myself that I would be grateful for whatever I had left and that I wouldn’t feel sorry for myself about it, nor would I be envious of others who possess and wield the creativity, the gifts, skills, talents, and enjoyments that I had once had and had aspired to further. Sometimes such sorts of resolutions are more difficult to keep than we would like them to be — but I have found the Scriptures always prove themselves true…and these are just a few passages of the many that I myself have relied on in recent times, as I have more and more come to understand that my own life, as small and Lyme-affected as it is, is part of something much bigger than myself, for I belong to Christ….

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:4-7

“For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you,” ~Psalm 86:5

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” ~Proverbs 12:1

“Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” ~Proverbs 16:3

“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.” ~Psalm 37:8-9

“For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declared the LORD; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge, new, sharp, and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff; you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the LORD; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory. When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them…..” ~Isaiah 41:13-17

For, indeed, the Lord does not forsake his own, for we are his, part of his kingdom, and are named his own children under the banner of the Christ, the Promised Son of David. Thus it is that I praise the Lord for his blessings on me and for his having given to me this day a tiny inkling of a return of a little creativity and slight measure of imagination…. As abilities are slowly, slowly seeming to once again become available for my use, it is also becoming apparent that they require re-training, re-disciplining, and even re-evaluation…. The tiny Lyme spirochetes are mighty in their destructive power — but their Creator is even mightier!

“To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is none besides him…And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them, and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day, know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for all time.” ~Deuteronomy 4:35, 37-40