2911 THE TREASURY

create

Part 3 - How I got started painting...

Codye ReysteadComment
Jason Espinoza Photography

Jason Espinoza Photography

My heart was longing to pick up the brush again. True, I had a few electives to fill in order to graduate–And yes, an art class could serve to fill one of my remaining electives. But deep down, I didn't know what to do. My heart seemed to cry out, “try again,” while my mind cried quite the opposite.

My mind was wondering how my heart could even entertain the thought of walking back in an art department again. Especially, when such darkness had met me in my past art experience. My mind was reeling. If I decided to take art again, would I be able to endure more pain and disappointment from it all? And moreover, if I took art again, would I be consciously exposing my heart to the darkness I’d been fighting so hard to forget?

So, being in a state of indecision (yet again), I chose to take a physical education “walking” class. Yeah, that’s right–all I had to do was show up and walk! Great, right?

So again, another semester passed–as I walked and thought…and thought some more…

From a place of pain and disappointment, I had learned to ignore my heart’s desire to create. In essence, I had not only learned to ignore it, but I had also trained myself to silence the yearning. I had trained my mind to push aside thoughts about painting and creating, in order to focus on other things instead. Though my heart and hands were grieving I had my mind convinced that artistry was a thing of my past–I had tried it, but it just didn’t work out.

Now, I found myself running out of time. My senior year was upon me, and I only had two electives to fill before graduation. Every week, as I walked the track in my “walking” class, my heart and mind continued to banter back and forth. My heart was pleading with my mind, “try again”–but my mind continued to firmly respond, “nope, too painful, not doing that again…”

The old familiar restlessness, of not knowing why God gave me the gift of artistry, had returned. And it seemed to have returned ten-fold…

My thoughts could find no rest–the desire to create again became relentless…

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. And I did what I had promised myself I would never do. I took off across the campus, headed straight toward the visual arts building. My mind raced. What was I doing? It was like my heart had decided to take over my body–carrying me to the very place I didn’t think I really wanted to go!

As the building got closer and closer, I kept telling myself this was a good thing. And that by doing this I would finally be able to put the past behind me. I would only take a quick look. After all, I hadn’t signed up for anything, right? I could leave at any time. It was after hours anyway, so probably very few people would be in the building. I would slip in, let my heart see that my mind was right in putting art behind me and move on before anyone even knew I was there…

But God… He knew…

In fact, He was waiting…

As I walked through the glass doors, what had been a cloudy day seemed to break wide-open with brilliant rays of light. I stepped inside just as the white expanse of the building’s foyer became bathed in a blanket of warm and inviting sunlight. It was as if the light beckoned me to come in and explore…

The beauty of the brilliant light drew my creative spirit forward. Quietly I stepped into the main foyer–suddenly aware my eyes were very hungry to see the beauty of the art and sculptures housed within the space before me.

Then, all at once, peace came. Like a mighty river it came, causing everything else to fade away. My heart and mind suddenly quieted themselves, as a sweet momentum swept into my spirit…

And, ever so gently, I heard my Beloved Creator whisper to my grieving heart, “you can do this…I’m here…and it’s going to be ok…”

In a moment, I felt His Presence come to me as kind Father. His Presence of gentle-kindness remained with me as I walked through the foyer, into the main hallway, and on into one of the many gallery exhibits. God, in all His kindness, knew this was very difficult for me…

I walked, and I looked, and I wept. I was undone–undone to feel His tangible Presence so near–undone to be surrounded now, not by darkness, but by beauty and light. My soul was hungry for beauty and my eyes hungry for light.

Suddenly, it felt as if my heart awoke again, to breath afresh…to breath deep…for the first time, in a very long time…

There was light and beauty to behold as I gazed at the rich colors and tones of the artwork around me. Lines and textures filled my eyes. Quiet beauty could be seen all around me. And my artisan soul could breathe deep again. I walked and walked, feasting on the artistry and solitude the gallery offered. My whole being quietly processing–processing with God, both the past and the future.

It was time to come back. It was time to pick up the paintbrush again…

More to come…

- Codye Reystead