CONVERSATION, NEW LIFE AND RED POPPIES
My friend, Bettie Gilbert, writes about The Blessing of Life after Death on her blog. I also want to share a post about new life, updated from my former blog. It includes a conversation leading to an art page and a poem.
One night about four years ago, I was having an online conversation with my daughter, Jamie. I was bemoaning that I had taken my art journal to a picnic but did nothing with it. Even then, while chatting with her, I had my journal open before me, but I still couldn’t think of a thing to do. She said I should draw a punchy red flower, pretend it was her, and write a blessing, poem, or prayer. I asked her what she meant by punchy. Her answer was vibrant, full bloom.
Here is part of our conversation:
Me: Do you think of yourself as a punchy red flower?
Jamie: I think it’s my authentic self. I could be yellow like a buttercup, but I’m really drawn to red. I’m just making this up as I go. I was going to turn the tables and tell you to pretend it’s you after you go through all the trouble and read the blessing over yourself.
Me: red, like maybe a poppy?
Jamie: precisely like a poppy
Me: I will find a picture and copy it. I do better with copying things.
As we were chatting, I began looking for a picture.
Me: So, do you think of me as a red poppy? And, if so, what is it that makes you think it?
Jamie: I think we’re both heading into a season of blooming big and bright in a joyful way, and the poppy looks like that to me.
Me: oh, I love that thought. And I think you are right. It’s kind of exciting!
While continuing our conversation, I found some interesting information on poppies and shared what I gleaned.
Me: I read that a red poppy symbolizes sleep, peace, and death, but in classical mythology, it signifies a resurrection after death.
Jamie: Whoa! That makes me a little giddy. I definitely see that in myself.
Me: me, too, I think. I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve been dead all these years, but I do feel like I’ve had a sort of resurrection.
Jamie: It can be a death, not the death, though. Death can be a letting go of a need for control or the putting to rest an old idea of who we thought we were or were not, etc. There are many kinds of symbolic deaths. You can just think of it as a coming awake. like we are learning to live with our eyes open, to beauty, to suffering, to our significance, etc.
Me: I just drew two poppies on an art page. I love what you just wrote, Jamie, about the coming awake. Now if I can only think of a blessing or poem to go with them.
(The whole time we were chatting, I was drawing or researching)
Me: Did you know poppies thrive in disturbed soil?
Jamie: Wow! It’s like a gift that keeps on giving. I hope you are writing a blog post about this.
A DRAWING AND A POEM OF NEW LIFE
After our conversation, I worked on the picture a little more. Then Steve and I watched a movie with relatives. During the movie, I wrote a poem inspired by our conversation, my research, and the red poppies. After finishing the art page and poem, I took another look at Wikipedia to see if I could glean any more information. In Persian literature, the poppy represents love. This beautiful flower has been used as a symbol of sleep, peace, death, resurrection, and love.
There is a kind of death
Asleep for a time
A breaking forth
A new life
A bursting flame of color
Opening up to the sun
Ready to bloom
NEW LIFE IN CHRIST
When we come to faith in Jesus, we are given a new life and reconciled to God.
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Not only can we have peace in our hearts here, we are assured of a place with God forever, even after death.
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
I want to leave you with my latest art journal page, which includes a verse that reminds us that God does what we cannot do for ourselves. He is the one who gives us a new heart and enables us to live for Him. I realize the verse is directed to Israel, but I believe it can also apply to believers since we are His children, too.
Don’t forget to check out Bettie’s post, The Blessing of Life after Death.