I carefully place the clean wet brush, outlining the outer petals of the dandelion with a clear wash. Choosing a bright turquoise blue, I apply dots of pigment to this clear outline and color bursts forth creating a beautiful striking contrast.
I overuse this watercolor technique because I love the contrast. Even incomplete, I can stare at places on the painting that stand out. But it isn’t enough.
The picture isn’t mine if it doesn’t have places of blurring, blending, and unplanned patterns.
I love the spontaneity of watercolors; they have a mind of their own and sometimes I find myself holding my breath; waiting to see what will evolve.
Adrenaline comes from spontaneity and freedom. Thrill, excitement.
Calm comes from planning and structure. Peace, joy.
The speed of life is hard to contain as graduations, careers, marriage, kids, empty nests all flow seemingly out of control into our future.
You always hear, “it goes so fast”.
But it is living life. Doing life with those you love. Being all God created you to be.
It is thrilling, exhilarating.
Where is the Contrast?
As I age, I find that I need the peace and joy that come from calm.
I find peace in the routine. I never would have described myself as someone who likes to maintain things. I like creating systems, but not following them consistently. I have always liked change, the newness, the challenge.
On the seventh day, God rested. He saw all He had created and said, “it is good”.
The seventh day was different than the whirlwind of the first six days of creation.
We were created in the image of God. We all need the contrast. We need rest too.
Routine is our rest. It is the safety net to catch us if the whirlwind becomes a tornado.
Routine is exercising regularly so that we feel healthy and ready for all of the other spontaneous creation.
Routine is eating healthy, fresh foods.
Routine is Bible study, family night, coffee on the patio.
Routine is rest. A good night’s sleep, a novel, and rocking our child to sleep.
Life is to be lived. Retirement doesn’t really happen in eternity. God created each of us, and He has His plans for us. Whether that is chasing after our kids to keep them in the rails as they grow up to be independent adults, or a burning passion followed into a calling and turned into a career. It could be achieving greatness as an athlete or artist. It may be the chaos of surviving middle school or the first day on the job. Figuring out in marriage that your way isn’t the only way. Or seeking adventures in travel, relationships, or ministry.
The living of adventure pulls us. We should step out in faith confident, not afraid, to live life to its’ fullest right into Jesus waiting arms.
But…the routine keeps us grounded. It is the stabling force that gives us the safety to live the adventure. There is peace in the routine. There is quiet. It is in the routine we hear what God has next.
It is okay to rest. It is okay to have a smidgeon of control to our chaos. It is okay to want to sit on your back porch from sunrise to sunset, drinking the cup of coffee, setting up the paints, curling up with the book, taking a nap, playing catch with your son, winding down with a conversation with your spouse, or a phone call to Mom, as you sip your wine into the sunset. (Notice how I didn’t say gardening…I kill everything.)
It is beautiful. It is the contrast of life.
The new day may be a burst of lemon drop yellow, not sure which direction it is heading, but surely creating a unique piece of art. You. Your life.
God’s greatest work of art.