Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Eternally Precious


Being sick sucks. I've had to take off four days of work this week, and haven't been able to even take advantage of the time at home to do some art (I did put the finishing touches on this piece, though, and did this piece quickly when I was feeling good).

I was just at the doctor's office for the second time this week. While waiting for the "doctor's note" to give to my boss, my dry throat started up some coughing and I got up to ask for some water. While drinking I looked at some of the pictures on the wall... you know, those kinds of things that you always see in doctors' offices: watercolor & pen prints of pictures of beaches or cafes or famous sights. I remembered something I had read in John Eldredge's book, The Journey of Desire,
Scripture tells us that God has "set eternity" in our hearts (Eccl. 3:11 NIV)...

The return of Spring brings such relief and joy and anticipation. Life has returned, and with it sunshine, warmth, color, and the long summer days of adventure together. We break out the lawn chairs and the barbecue grill. We tend the garden and drink in all the beauty. We head off for vacations. Isn't this what we most deeply long for? To leave the winter of the world behind, what Shakespeare called "the winter of our discontent," and find ourselves suddenly in the open meadows of summer?

I am standing in my hotel room, which looks like every other hotel room I've been in over the past ten years. When you travel for a living, the excitement of hotel stays wears off pretty quickly. There is a picture on the wall, a painting of a small harbor town. It appears to be somewhere in the Mediterranean, with its azure seas and whitwashed walls. I think of the Greek islands, perhaps Santorini. Sunlight fills the place, and small boats drift lazily in the bay. There are cafes, I am sure, filled with laughter. Along the plaza, lovers stroll hand in hand. The seas are warm and inviting. It evokes a longing, but not for vacation. Vacations end. The longing evoked by the painting is for a life that never ends.

- John Eldredge, The Journey of Desire
There's something peaceful in those paintings, which is precisely why doctors choose them for their offices. They set you at ease, even if you're not looking at them. And often when we go to the doctor we need to be set at ease, especially at dentists' offices!

"Artists" often find these kinds of pictures boring. I can understand that. My friends and I in university used to go to Laguna beach where the town is lined with art galleries, most often filled with these kinds of pictures. Pictures that don't "say anything", don't strive to "be original" or do something "different". They're unambitious, cliche, and yet represent everything that common people long for -- idyllic peace, finally being able to relax. A life better than vacation, one which does not end. Perhaps this is why they're so distasteful to more "enlightened" artists who have left beauty behind in order to strive for a different goal.

My eyes drifted over to another wall which had two famous Van Gogh paintings, one of them being the Café Terrace at Night --



Maybe that's why I like Van Gogh's art. He also longed for that "eternity" and painted pictures of its beauty in everyday life -- snapshots of everyday beauty that speak of eternity, of eternally precious things in us, in our lives, and how eternally precious we ourselves are.

I then heard a beautiful tune playing in the background that I recognized. It took me a minute to recall from where, but finally I realized it was Atlantic Starr's early 90's hit, "Masterpiece"! How interesting. How wonderful the timing. Thank You, God. The words of the chorus came back to me,
Oh, I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you my love
Oh, I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you
Isn't it God speaking to us? Yes, the song was written for male-female romantic love, but even our love speaks of a deeper longing, an eternal longing. Our romantic love is something precious, a foretaste of what's to come and what does not end.

As I came home and looked up the lyrics, I felt like "God, I could sing this to You!" The song could almost be the Bride (us) speaking to the Bridegroom (Christ), and then the Bridegroom replying back to us, in love with His masterpiece, His work of art, His treasured bride.

A simple touch of Your hand,
And everything is right.
The gentle way You look at me,
When You kiss me goodnight.
You've given me the freedom no other love has known
And now I thank you Lord, thank you Lord

The countless ways You've touched my heart
Is more than I can say
The beauty that You've shown to me
takes my breath away
A picture perfect painting, that's what Your love is
And yes I need You so, and now I know
Oh, I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you My love
Oh, I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you
Sometimes I wonder what I'd be
Had I not found You
A least and lonely soul this world
could show me nothing new

But now my life's a canvas
painted with Your love
And it will always be
And now I see

The gentle walks together
Through time will never pass
This fairy tale we shared
is real inside our hearts
It will be forever
You'll never let it end
this promise You have made
Heaven is what You gave
Oh, I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you My love
Oh, I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you
When I'm lost and insecure
You build me up and make me sure
that everything will be alright
My love
Oh, I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you My love
Oh, I've found a masterpiece in you
a work of art it's true
And I treasure you
(This fairy tale we're sharing
is real inside our hearts
It will be forever
You'll never let it end)

- "Masterpiece" by Atlantic Starr, adapted by Ramone Romero

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