Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Poppy Field

"When I Was in Italy ...."
8" X 10" Oil on Linen Panel

 Original photo
Cropped for my purposes

Several of my friends have traveled abroad, but none of them have told their story quite like Christina.  In fact, within the first few minutes of meeting her, I learned that she recently took a university class in Florence, Italy called “The Diet and Lifestyles of the Mediterranean.”  Her entire face lit up as she related her experiences with fresh enthusiasm!   (You should see the food pictures!)

If the students wanted to see any other parts of the country, they were on their own to plan day trips on the weekends.  They had to choose between trying to squeeze in as many places as they could in a short period of time, or spend more time in fewer places.  Christina chose  to embrace all she could.  Of course, that meant literally running through the streets in some places, and viewing others from the inside of a vehicle. 

I loved looking through all the photos, but was specifically drawn to the one above.   I actually looked at it for a while before realizing it was taken through the bus window.  (Some representations can be deceiving!)   I asked her if it was a poppy field, and because she was just driving by, she really didn’t know for sure.  She just knew it was a pretty field with reddish-orange flowers and a few buildings that obviously attracted her enough to take a picture.  And it attracted me enough to take a second look, zoom in, choose the part I liked, and crop it.  Then when it came time to apply the composition to my canvas, I just made the things I couldn’t discern into whatever I felt suited my goal of a well-balanced landscape.

Viewing someone’s life from a distance is somewhat like that.  We see some dots and connect them in a way that seems logical to us – and bingo, we’ve come to a conclusion that may not be the truth.  Yeah – it's all too easy to “judge from afar.”  But, the closer we get to someone, the more we can see how wrong – or right - our assumptions may have been.  (For example - those may not be poppies at all!!)

And what about our relationship with God?  Are we settling for the drive-by, the view from the foggy window, or even looking through someone else’s lenses?  It may obscure the truth, or misrepresent it, and if it does, we lose.  We lose because we put God in a box that we’ve constructed – we make Him what we want Him to be – “to fit the landscape” – and He's so much more than that!  

You want to know if “poppies are really poppies?"  Find out for yourself - go straight to Him - because you can!

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” 
James 4:8

[Guess I'll have to go to Italy!  :)))]

Oh, and you're wondering about the title?  According to Christina's father, since her return, she often begins her sentences with, "When I was in Italy, ....."  There's that passion - gotta love it!   (I think he's given her a new nickname:)