I’ve lived in Orlando most of my adult life. It’s what I know; water everywhere, green, and flat. Orlando is a big enough city that I have to decide which of the many Targets I should go to–there’s no lack of choices. It’s my norm, and it’s easy to go on autopilot as I go through routine tasks like going to church, grocery shopping, work, making dinner, doing laundry, or working out.
This picture is obviously not Florida. It was inspired by Canyonlands National Park in southwest Utah. It is dry, and desolate, with canyons and mountains and very far from my normal. It is not comfortable or safe. I have to think about having enough water, food and gas with me. Even though it’s out of my comfort zone, I find it breathtaking, with trails that require bravery and perseverance. When I’m back home I dream of exploring trails there. I love visiting; when we vacation there I want to get up with the sun, stay up past dark and take in as much as possible of the landscape around me. I’m more aware of how fragile we are, how many things in our lives are really beyond our control. I feel alive and far from being on autopilot.
In life I think we have times where everything is going pretty smoothly, and it feels like we have things under control. We are comfortable, yet perhaps a little bored. And then when we have those times where we feel completely out of our element, we see how much is out of our control and it makes our hearts race. God is with us in both these times. He is there in the normal moments and the extraordinary ones. He wants to draw closer to us in both.
My challenge is that while I long for the breathtaking, I also need to trust him for the day-to-day moments. Praise Him for the normal and the special. My triptych of Canyonlands will be a reminder of appreciating the beauty Christ brings in my life, whether on home turf or far away.
My first visit to the southwest was 14 years ago. I took a ton of pictures and did a series of oil pastel drawings. A few months ago I discovered contemporary artist Erin Hanson. I really love her work. She uses bright colors, has great compositions, and also loves painting the vistas of the southwest. Looking at her work inspired me to pick up a paintbrush again. (Check her out here)
Enjoy the painting, and if you want to learn more about seeing God in the hard and easy, normal and breathtaking moments, check out this link: http://www.everyperson.com/journeys/now.html