I was gifted today with this beautiful picture of geraniums by a very sweet and encouraging friend. She thought it would go well with my yellow room, and indeed it will.
Not only is it beautiful, but it reminds me that we do not create in a vacuum, that our journey is linked and intertwined with others as they affirm and encourage us and as we seek to do the same.
And did you know you can overwinter geraniums? Not that I’m garden-savvy enough to ever make that happen, but it speaks to me of the resilience of life. It reminds me of this past winter, when I fanned the flame of dying embers in our woodstove, endeavoring to bring it to life again without a match. And I did. Even when on the surface, life and growth appear to be waning, we can hold on to hope; we can pray with the psalmist, “Do it again, God!” (Psalm 126, MSG) and we can trust that God is at work in all the seasons of our lives!
I Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
I took a piece of artwork to a frame shop the other day to be matted and mounted. The whole experience was somewhat frustrating, especially when I went to pick it up, and the clerk handed me my artwork, the cut mat, and a piece of mounting board. Hm. I thought the price included mounting; do-it-yourself mounting was not what I had in mind. After a few clueless inquiries on my part, she obliged and mounted it for me.
But most frustrating was the shop owner’s strange disinterest in my project. Not that I expected oohs and aahs, but in my experience, framers usually delight in helping customers select mats and frames that will best set off their piece. They have an eye for presentation, and their perspective is valued by the artist.
I couldn’t help but relate this to life and relationships. We all have opportunity to be “framers” in the lives of others from time to time. We can, of course, remain aloof and disinterested, refusing to look beyond the walls of our own existence. Or we can help people see the true beauty of their lives by faithfully listening and offering back honest reflections and encouragement. When we take the time to encourage others, when we appreciate their unique strengths and help them see God at work in their lives, we are, in a sense, framing their lives for them.
Father, may I always be ready to help others see and appreciate your creative handiwork in their lives.
(A postscript: I worked on this piece several weeks ago, and then I couldn’t find it. Oops – I forgot I had submitted for a contest for a writing conference I attended last weekend. I was pleasantly surprised it placed in the contest, and am pleased now to share it here!)