IMAGE OF THE WEEK
River of Healing
Here is another Biblical illustration that I was commissioned to do about twelve years ago. I cannot recall the exact passage – it was very short – which was ultimately printed in the upper left corner, but I do remember my publisher’s instructions: healing the self comes from healing the community, and I was to show acts of community service.
This is a theme that recurs again and again. Being part of a faith community (or any community) often means helping those who are injured, sick, or elderly; or who have suffered loss from natural disasters and other tragedies that too often strike without warning. Paradoxically, reaching out to help others can relieve or reduce our own suffering.
A river came to mind as a metaphor. Suffering and loss seem to flow through our lives in an unstoppable progression. So do acts of compassion and kindness, if we are able to lift our eyes and see. Time itself is a great healer, and as it flows onward, washes away our sadness as gently as a sharp stone is rounded by the flow of water.
My own faith community is rocked to the core this week by two tragic suicides, both by beloved young people, ages 24 and 15. These losses are unfathomable. The precious daughter of a dear friend is lost forever. I have no words of consolation for my friend, who is already the president of a charitable organization – and whose offices are full of posters and cards of my art – including this image. A river of tears flows through our community today. At times like this, there is nothing to do but surrender to whatever higher power we believe in. Baruch Dayan Emet – blessed is the true Judge. I pray for my friend, that her inner strength will carry her through this time of intense grief, and that her family will not suffer a permanent loss of purpose and meaning. I pray other teenagers in the community who may be tantalized by tragic extremes will be sobered by the death of their friend.
The vessel that is spilled can stand up and be full again. The sick can be tended and heal. A tired child can be carried. A lost child can be guided. A home destroyed can be rebuilt. Criminals can repent, and the hungry can be fed. A broken heart can be embraced and soothed. These are the metaphors for healing that I offered in my illustration, for whatever they’re worth. And if there are no metaphors, no images or words for what is broken, the river of time still carries us forward, separately and with love, together.
Wishing you a good week,