Bucket Problems: An Additional Post

B u c k e t    P r o b l e m s

Bucket with holes.

I wrote a post entitled “Bucket Problems”, about addictions.  One of the guys I try to keep up with, through his blogs, gave me feedback about that post.  His encouragement and insight brought me back to the writing desk, on the Other Side of the Trees, to write more about “Bucket Problems.”  Here is a hypothetical scenario, where addictions are at play:

A man pours his energy, heart and soul, into a bucket.  The idea is that the bucket will hold all that is valuable and sacred.  A shiny, good-looking, bucket.  But, emptiness happens.  Something is wrong.  He pours more of who he is, what he has, into the bucket.  But, the emptiness continues, and is stronger.  He pours out more of his sacred self into the great bucket.  The bucket, however, is not a great bucket.  In fact, it is not even a good bucket. The bucket has holes.  There are bucket problems.

“Addictions”, in our society, often refers to several categories: substance abuse; binge eating; alcoholism (even though alcohol is a substance).  Other addictions fly under the radar and are socially acceptable (and therefore are not considered addictions). Check out some of these potential addictions, a short list:

  1. Shopping
  2. Relationships
  3. Chocolate
  4. Sex
  5. Coffee
  6. Sugar
  7. Work
  8. Being a victim
  9. Eating

An addiction is not just about substance abuse.  Part of the human soul craves relief.  We want something that will ease the pain of living in this world.  We, as individuals, can (try to) hide in our addictions: work, reading books, eating.  My work in addictions, my work with addicts and recovering addicts led me to the realization that the addiction is not just about the addiction.  Something is driving the addiction(s).

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon (many people believe that the author was Solomon) wrote about his realization that everything he pursued for meaning and comfort was … meaningless. That is, everything but God.

1:12-14 ” …  I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I … study (studied) and to explore (explored) by wisdom all that is done under the heavens …14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

1:18 … For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
    the more knowledge, the more grief.

Pleasures Are Meaningless (subtitle)

2:1-26 … I said to myself, ‘Come now, I will test (self) with pleasure to find out what is good.’ But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 ‘Laughter,’ I said, ‘is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?’  I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards … 5 gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem … the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.

10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
    I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
    and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
    nothing was gained under the sun.

12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom,
    and also madness and folly.
What more can the king’s successor do
    than what has already been done?
13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly,
    just as light is better than darkness.
14 The wise have eyes in their heads,
    while the fool walks in the darkness;
but I came to realize
    that the same fate overtakes them both.

24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Solomon’s words “chasing the wind” suggest that such pursuits are futile.  Such cravings, are part of a desperate search for meaning, for comfort.  How we manage that, how we control that, is up to the individual.  My belief is that it is only through the “reliance” on God, that the “holes in the bucket are plugged.” *Note: the words quoted came about in a discussion with a poet-photographer-friend who blogs:

The Book of Bokeh / https://bookofbokeh.wordpress.com

The Book of Pain / https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

I would like to acknowledge one of my “go-to” books on addiction: Addiction and Grace by Gerald May.  I would not say that this volume is “easy reading” ; but instead an excellent reference for looking at addictions from a non-religious, non-denominational, and non-judgmental spiritual perspective.  The same author wrote The Awakened Heart, which I heartily recommend.

Thanks for reading this lengthy post, and I hope you found some value here.

Matters of the Heart

I am drawn towards … matters of the heart.  

Recently, I asked a good man: “Hey, Man! How was your Thanksgiving?”  The man told me that one of his best friends shot himself the day before Thanksgiving, and ” … so my wife and I have been dealing with that. (pause) You asked, so I thought I would tell you.”

My response after almost a minute of saying nothing was “Wow, Man.  That’s really hard stuff.  I’m sorry for your loss.”  The man gave a nod, then turned away and walked towards the next thing.  I could tell he was done with the conversation.  I’ve been in more scenarios, similar to that, than I can remember.  I don’t really understand it all, what is happening there.  Is it a timing issue?  Is it some kind of convergence dynamic happening, where God is doing His thing to bring two paths to a place of intersection?  I do think that it is something about how I am wired, something about an “empathetic spirit”, something about the nonverbal realm of communication.  Maybe there is more happening than what I can see.

Matters of the heart.  I thought of a song from a guy named Bob Bennett, entitled “Matters of the Heart”.  I had not listened to any of his music for a while.  So, I dug up some lyrics of this song, and I hope you enjoy a little excerpt from “Matters of the Heart”. 

W/M: Bob Bennett
© 1982 Straightway Music (EMI CMG)

Baby smiling for an unknown reason
Bird singing in the dead of night
Hand reaching out for another one
Breeze catching a falling kite

Sigh at the end of a working day
Sun sinking down in the ocean
Love letters from far away
Rain dancing in motion

You can show me your sales curves
Plot my life on a flow chart
But there’s just some things
That numbers can’t measure
In Matters of the Heart

Eyes laughing in the face of disaster
Voices pleading on the telephone line
A spark of truth that catches on fire
Your first taste of the new wine

A light shining in this heart of darkness
A new beginning and a miracle
Day by day the integration
Of the concrete and the spiritual

You can show me your sales curves
Plot my life on a flow chart
You can count up your converts
And miss where it all starts
You can show me your sales curves

But there’s just some things
That numbers can’t measure
These fragile pieces of priceless treasure
There’s just some things
That numbers can’t measure
In Matters of the Heart
Matters of the Heart

*NOTE: I was trying to find a Youtube video of Bob Bennett playing this tune.  I only found one, but the quality of the recording was not what it should be.  So, I am including this link here, which shows only a picture of the man, but the quality of the song is the best I could find.  It is a beautiful tune, I think you will enjoy.

Fathom . . .


Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom. (145: 3)

An odd word.  Five occurrences, NIV?

  1. 1 Corinthians 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
  2. Job 11:7 “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
  3. Psalms 145:3  “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
  4. Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
  5. Isaiah 40:28 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

Fathom [fath uh m]

1. a unit of length equal to six feet (1.829 metres), used to measure depths of water 
2. (mining) a unit of volume usually equal to six cubic feet, used in measuring ore bodies
3. (forestry) a unit of volume equal to six cubic feet, used for measuring timber
verb – transitive
4. to measure the depth of, especially with a sounding line; sound
5. to penetrate (a mystery, problem, etc); discover the meaning of …


“Man, I tell you: I get really frustrated when I cannot figure something out. That’s the way I am wired.  I want to understand everything, fully … And this whole God thing, there are some parts of Him and how He works that I just cannot figure out.”

“So, instead of experiencing the freedom, some peace, from not having to understand it all, you choose to be frustrated.  That, in itself, doesn’t make much sense.”

“Why would I experience freedom, or peace, because I cannot figure something or someone out?”

“Because it is totally, completely, full-blown, established that you cannot ‘fathom’ His greatness.  That cannot, and will not, change.  You and I are able to sit in that greatness, and be cared for.  We don’t have to carry the stress around figuring God out.  Because when He does something different than what you halve already experienced, then you have to figure that out.”

Final thoughts.  If it is true … His greatness no one can fathom … then this is a freeing truth, a massive rock to stand on while fierce sledge-hammer waves pound that rock … Hardships do come; oh yes, they will come. Isolation, alienation, futility … they may also come.  But, if it is true … His greatness no one can fathom, then there is a reason to move toward Him, with both thankfulness and requesting His deliverance … because He is great beyond words, beyond our comprehension.

Let’s bust a move.

A Bridge

Metaphors: you like them, or you don’t.  “Bridge Over Troubled Water” originally flowed from the recording artists Paul Simon and Art Garfunkle.  Since their release of this tune, a number of recording musical artists tried their hand, and voice, at performing BOTW.  Michael W. Smith is one of those bold souls.  I recommend the link at the bottom of this post for a Youtube glimpse.  “A declaration of friendship” is a phrase that stood out, exploring the views about what this song actually means.  Simon and Garfunkel’s other lyrics, some of them – not all of them, included references to the drug culture of the Sixties … and this “data” led some opinionators (not a real word … Oh, I just invented it!) to the idea that BOTW was really about using drugs.

Come on, people!!!!!

Here is a perspective (my paraphrase):

“Paul Simon was never shy about talking about drugs / drug use, so to suggest that this song is about drugs, presented in a very subtle below-the-radar manner doesn’t fit at all … So, don’t make the song into something that it isn’t, suggesting that the song is saying something it is not.”

YEAH!  That’s what I’m talking about.  BOTW is about relationships.  BOTW is about the reality of life being difficult, and painful; and someone walking with you.  And that, is part of what drives this particular post.  There is usually someone, somewhere, ready to take something that is meaningful,  good, and reformat the work into something entirely different.  One of the key phrases in the song is “I will lay me down … like a bridge over troubled water …”


“The Vine Bridges In Japan Will Totally Reinvent How You Think Of Bridges” / Huffington Post

Bridges. Metaphor EXTRAORDINAIRE.  Ever heard the expression “Don’t burn your bridges”?  And, have you ever been in a situation where you were in the midst of ambivalence and sadness because you thought you burned a bridge, but either a) you were mistaken in that you are not the one that burned that bridge, or b) it was a bridge that needed to be burned?  And, hopefully, there was someone … there is someone … who walked / walks with you through all that.    What about a situation where you are a bridge to someone who is in some troubled waters, and you walk with them out of the wilderness, the desert, into a place where there is some joy, some cold water, some good community?  Fortunately, I’ve experienced all of the above, including the scenario where I was in troubled waters … and I found a bridge to get me out of the thick of it.  Immeasurable thankfulness.  Here is an excerpt of the lyrics:

When you’re weary
feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I’ll dry them all
I’m on your side oh when times get bad
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out                               

When you’re on the street

When evening falls so hard

I will comfort you ooh
I’ll take your part oh when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Link for M.W. Smith singing this tune:

Analysis? Paralysis?

Over-thinking, looking too hard, listening wrong, initial movement transitioning into an anxietous and anguishing stuckness, still holding on to a lie, “I can figure this out myself …”, even though it is true sometimes, and even though it is not true sometimes, and knowing which is which can mess with your mind, maybe … maybe not … but I do know that it can mess with my mind, and it has messed with my mind, and I don’t like knowing that I am a soul who was stranded, and was sanded down by metaphorical sandpaper, and it might have been good, but it hurt and the hurt was different than any other kind of hurt, my wood being ripped away by that gravelly strip, splinters flying … and those splinters are mean … 


Oh, yes, “knowing” can be a potent tea to sip from, quite a heady aftertaste, a big cup of a strong-brewed confidence …

“Oh yes, I know what I am talking about.”  

“Oh, yes, I am right … I know I am right.”

“I know a great deal about many things.”

“I have studied this topic, and many others, and many would benefit if they would but learn from me.”

“I know … that many consider me wise.”

“Blah, blah … blah-blah-blah, and … of course … Blah.”


“Open my eyes, so I can analyze.”  

Or …

“Close my eyes so I don’t analyze.”

All my knowledge, and all my analysis …

Can bring me to

Paralysis …

Desert … A Waiting Room?

“In the desert …you can remember your name, ’cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain …” 

From the song “A Horse With No Name”, performed by a group called America.  ‘Came out in 1971, Europe, and in 1972 – – – the States.

The desert: frequented by Jesus; and JTB (John the Baptist); and Paul, maker of fine tents.   Desert Fathers spent years in the desert, as did Desert Mothers.  Desert Children?  No.  No Desert Children.  It was during the 1st and 2nd centuries when these “Desert Fathers”, these “Desert Mothers”, migrated away from the more heavily populated areas … into the desert.  These Desert Fathers carried with them a supernatural desire to focus more intently on God.  Society had become like a sinking ship to the DF’s (Desert Fathers) because of sin and mediocrity. The desert.  Individuals still find themselves in the desert, a metaphor (oh, there’s that word again).  St. John of the Cross wrote some words, somewhere in the sixteenth century, about this desert experience.  He referred to this desert experience as “the dark night of the soul”.

Gerald May wrote a book entitled The Dark Night  of the Soul, based on the sixteenth century work written by St. John of the Cross.  Desert Fathers and Desert Mothers pursued the desert, entered these harsh, dry, lonely, places on their own.  Many sojourners of the “here-and-now” find themselves in the desert … not their intended destination.  Strange things happen in the desert; and pain, deep and soulish pain, may come along with a glimpse of transcendence, priceless, sacred, gifts of wisdom and discernment.
 One of the many quotes I remember from reading Dr. May’s book goes like this:
“There are gifts of the dark night, but they do not come until morning.”
A crude word picture has come to mind many times when I think of these desert experiences.
I walk into the medical clinic, to see a doctor.  The woman behind the counter has me sign in, and then tells me, “Okay.  Now, please have a seat in the waiting room, and then we will call your name.”  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.  I wait to see a doctor.  I am experiencing pain, a need for healing.  And, I have to wait, and wait, and wait.  This waiting involves disruptive stillness, deafening silence.
My waiting process, my desert, is a place where I consider what the questions are, and  I attempt to listen, and not focus on what I think I need to say.  These desert experiences are some of the more profound opportunities to re-discover prayer … My last piece, in all of this, is a memory I will always cherish.
I had a two-day silent retreat in a place on the way up to Mount Evans, outside of Idaho Springs (Colorado).  I had no idea about what to expect.  I spent time being still, praying, reading.  Before I knew the daylight faded into night,  I hit the pillow sometime around 10:30.  A few hours later, I awoke to stomach pain which led to prolific nausea.  I made it to the community restroom / facilities.  I crawled into a stall, and stayed there for several hours, laying on the cool linoleum, unable to move because of the continuous vomiting.  I literally called out for mercy.  Finally, I had a strong sense that the vomiting was over.  I hobbled back to my room, sat on a fairly large comfortable reading chair, turned the lamp on low and stared upward, asking God why He had put me through that.  I cannot explain the peace that emerged, and poured out on me like a thick, fragrant molasses.  This mix between the hellishness of my nausea … and the indescribable peace afterwards was an unprecedented encounter.  And I’ve never had anything like that happen since.
Tom Petty wrote a song with a great line:

“The waiting is the hardest part.”

Truly, I would be honored, privileged to hear from you, about your deserts, and what you have learned from them.


Henri: Where are You Going?

From Steinbeck, Cannery Row

“He’s been building that boat for seven years that I know of … Every time it nearly gets finished he changes it and starts over again.  I think he’s nuts.  Seven years on a boat.”
Doc was sitting on the ground pulling off his rubber boats.  “You don’t understand, he said gently .  “Henri loves boats but he’s afraid of the ocean.”
“What’s he want a boat for then?” Hazel demanded.
“He likes boats,” said Doc.  “But suppose he finishes his boat.  Once it’s finished people will say, “Why don’t you ever put in the water?”  Then if he puts it in the water, he’ll have to go out in it, and he hates the water.  So you see, he never finishes the boat – – – so he doesn’t have to launch it.”

– John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

I’ve always liked this exchange between two men, about a third man, Henri.  For men, there is a shortage of other men who will take initiative to come and ask hard questions.  Hard questions like: “Henri, where are you, bro?”;  “Henri, what are you doing?”; Henri, where are you going?”;  “Henri, are you going to launch that boat?  Or are you going to stay on the beach, where it is safe?”

Although the scenario was far more intense and intimidating, the first question was asked in a garden long, long, ago: “Adam, where are you?”  When I am asked the same question, by the same One who asked that question in that garden long, long, ago, I don’t always know how to answer.  Sometimes I hide.  But the question does not go away.


Speak? Or Listen?

he Word’s perspective is that listening needs to happen first; and speaking needs to come after the istening.   How, then, did “speak” come first, before “listen”?   I am referring to, by the way, the title of this blog.

Conflicted?  No, I am not conflicted.  Listening is a spiritual discipline, and connects with two other spiritual disciplines: stillness and silence. Individually, we are invited into the practice of listening, stillness, silence.

The tension with speaking and listening is stirred up by an addictive-thinking society, a society desiring more-more-more, a society that thinks it must keep moving faster rather than slower, a society craving stimuli (noise, visual, comfort).  A fellow by the name of James wrote: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”  Yes, I read it in the Word.  Another piece I have kept close, along my journey-road, goes like this: “Where words are many, sin is not absent.”  Yes, I read this, as well, in the Word.  And Benjamen Franklin wrote this little piece: “By swallowing words unsaid, one has yet to harm his stomach.”  I don’t know if this was before or after the kite-thing, where electricity emerged.  I have heard it said that Benjamin Franklin bought a loaf of bread, picked up a bottle of wine, then got married, and … BOOM! … discovered electricity.  I suppose marriage feels that way, at times.

For some, there is a disconnect between a) the healthy tension of listening / speaking, and b) the choice to not move, until one “hears” from God.  One of my thoughts, about all this, is … by staying grounded, keeping one’s ears open, avoiding the junk, praying continually (praying as we go) … prepares one to be ready to speak, when it is right to speak.  Here is the “safety tip”.  We are going to blow it from time to time.   It is impossible for us to “get it right” in every scenario we find ourselves in.

In The Silence of Adam, written by Larry Crabb / Don Hudson / Al Andrews,  The Silence of Adam addresses the problematic silence that men practice, connecting with the fear of moving.  Another angle, looks like this (to me): a man needs to find his voice; and a man needs to move into his world.  The title, The Silence of Adam, comes from Adam’s silence, when he was supposed to speak.  Bottom line: Adam chose not to speak; Adam chose not to move; Adam yielded to fear, which led to his problematic silence and his metaphorical paralysis.  Well, there it is: two sides of speaking and listening.  For me, I want to speak out of my listening, out of my prayer, and out of my intent to … not be stupid.  By the way: if you or anyone else experiences a sense of being compelled to express an opinion about this post, or about Adam, or about listening & speaking… feel free to do so.




Once I Was A Wild Man

Once I was a wild man, and Old Man was in the wild man.  One wild man, among others, who I looked up to was John Belushi … my high school days, on through early college years.  A solid candidate for the quintessential wild man.  

‘Few fellas, couple of years older,
inspired me during these years.  They were definitely cool. I know they were definitely cool, because they told me so. They were, in fact, wild men.  Women mysteriously gravitated toward them. 

Because of John Belushi, because of these two guys who looked after me whenever they could, I was focused on, highly attentive to, being a wild man.  In an uncharacteristically sober discussion following one of my stunts, standing up on a chair in a bar yelling “TOGA! TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!”, one my friends told me: “You know, Bro, being a wild man is not always where its at.”  As soon as I heard it; I blew it off.  I knew … being a wild man was my calling.  Funny how you can “know” something at one point in your life, confidence  unshakeable, and then a few years later … what you thought you knew to be true was in fact a “non-truth”

1986, March, I was at a bar down the street with a bunch of folks I worked with, on top of the world.  I do remember walking out the door of the bar, homeward bound.  At some point, I became aware of going backwards in my 1973 Dodge Charger, passenger side of the car bumping and screeching along the guard rail.  I miraculously turned the car around and got my idiot self back to my apartment, eyes as big as tennis balls.  I still tremble at what could have happened, and immeasurably thankful that no one died as a result of my neanderthal stupidity.  Things were getting crazy, and less enjoyable.  As a philosopher, by the name of B.B. King, once said, “The thrill is gone.”  He didn’t just philosophize.  B.B. King played some amazing music at the same time.

1987, fall, shortly before midnight, a profound change came in my thinking and in my life, from the unknown: unknown, at least initially.  The unknown became the Known.  It was a God-thing.  Change for the better.  Old things gradually dropped off.  Old Man faded. And yet, Old Man kept coming to visit, even though he was unwelcome.   He talked a lot.  The Old Man still comes by, sometimes quite ramped up ready to start trouble.  As Old Man started to fade, my wild man started to fade.  It was tough.  It was like … a loss.  I grieved the loss of the wild man, while sitting in an unprecedented peace acknowledging that this wild man had to go. I had found a new calm. There were better decisions; still mistakes, but different kinds of mistakes, and … yeah … better decisions.  The big thing, though, was my future. If and when I quit breathing, I would be in a good place, not a bad place.

Then, something strange emerged out of the fog, after a number of years.  A wild man stirred in my soul, my heart, my mind.  I was wary, as you can imagine.  This was a different wild man.  A wild man that stood apart from the old man.  I was a bit confused, and I gradually realized that this was the wildness of God.  Even though the old man and other thugs tried to gang up on guys like me, I decided I wasn’t going to be the enemy’s whipping-boy anymore.  

I allowed for a redemptive imagination.  I thought of Aragorn … who went up against the worst of the worst.  A wild man.  I stood with Moses, the bad guys coming for us on one side and the intimidating Red Sea on the other.  A wild man.  I walked swiftly behind Jesus in the temple watching him turn tables over disrupting the Pharisees.  A wild man.  I sat in the boat with the 12 guys that hung out with Jesus … there on Sea of Galilee, a mean storm on the verge of obliterating us when J-Man stood up and said “Hey!  That’s enough of this craziness!  Be still!”  And the waves disappeared, the ocean was smooth like a glass, the wind was history.  A wild man.  I had a better understanding, now.

It made sense that men are called to be wild men … redemptive wild men to stand up for what is right, to stand up against the lies, and the mind-games, and the attacks from the spiritual realm (for those who allow that to be part of their theology).  I think of courageous, passionate men, who are willing to fight for the death for what is right, like the “Three Amigos”There are many wild men who have been a part of God’s fun …  God shows His wildness through men.  We see it all the time. I’m still trying to figure this out.



Eyes to See? Anyone? Eyes to See?

Long, long ago, in a distant galaxy …. WHOAAAA! No, no, no … Scrap the “distant galaxy” thing.  It was just long, long, ago.

Anyway, as I was saying, when was I so rudely interrupted …. Long, long, ago, I wrote a post entitled “Phantom Morgana”  (different blog)  and it was a “fair” post, at best.  It was in the beginning of my blogging days (early 1700’s).  “Phantom Morgana” is a term that I first heard from some New Zealanders on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.  “Phantom Morgana” refers to the visual deception one can experience out on “The Ice” (two words that are used to refer to Antarctica).  What happens is that you might be scooting across the sea ice in a Hagalund (a Swiss-made tracked vehicle) and up ahead somewhere, you see some land, or some rock structures, or an iceberg.  Five minutes later, what you thought you saw is gone.  Thus, “Phantom Morgana”.  So, a question that is emerging out of this post, as we speak,  is “What are my eyes seeing?”. Uh-oh, here comes another question.  Hold on to your hats, people.  “How am I seeing?”, followed by another question … “What does my Father see?”  


Rembrandt painted many pieces, and one that I have gone back to, time and time again, is “The Artist in His Studio”, with some metaphorical wildness, accentuated by (at least) two questions: “What does this artist see on his canvas?  What is he looking at?”  And I think of God, often, looking on the canvas, doing His art.  I wonder with this picture, is the artist staring contemplatively at a blank canvas?  I wonder, if the artist is looking at what has been painted so far, and now … maybe … he is considering where to go next?  If Rembrandt was here, I could ask him: “Hey, Man, I have a question for you: What is the dude looking at?”  Even if he was here, or near here, I am not sure I could get in to see him.  He would probably say to me, “Guess what, Bubba: I’m  busy.  I’m busy painting. So make like a tree, and leaf.”

My hope is that Rembrandt knew the Lord, and now he is spending time in his amazing studio, painting with colors that are more beautiful than what we have to work with down here.  Since “the artist in his studio” is not around, then we are called to let our imagination do it’s thing.  So, what do you think?  What is the artist looking at, what does he see?  And what do you, the artist, see on your own canvas?  And what is God doing on His canvas, as He thinks of you?