In 2009 I took my Art students to see Australian artist John Brack’s exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. You may be familiar with his artworks Collins Street at 5pm and The Bar, both painted in the 1950’s. I was very excited to see these artworks alongside the larger body of his work. What I didn’t expect to see were his magnificent ballroom dancer paintings. Their size alone both intense and overwhelming. I found myself having to hold back tears as my appreciation for this particular painting moved me deeply. I had a group of year 11 and 12 students around, so no crying was happening on my watch.
What this experience compelled me to do, however, was to paint myself a reproduction. Almost 1 meter high, it pales in comparison to Brack’s scale and currently hangs on a wall unfinished. I loved it so much that it didn’t matter if it was finished when we moved here; it had to have its place to hang ready. But I’m yet to take it down to complete.
We are all incomplete stories. This doesn’t mean we are not beautiful. Our journeys all vary; there really are no two stories that are alike, though similarities do bring connections between others. But why do I hang an incomplete painting in my home? I looked at it this morning, actually every morning when I wake up. Some days it’s a glance, other days I look at it and think, I should really finish that. And still other days, like today, I stop and think of it as not incomplete, but part of a bigger story. A work in progress.
Sometimes our stories seem so incomplete that we think we have been forgotten, our prayers not heard or answered and we are missing out on the blessings God has for us. That we are unfinished and we will be left this way. But I can’t live like that. In the, what if’s of life and the insecurity of the unknown I will hold on to the truth that God isn’t like this. The more I desire to be in his presence the clearer the picture of God is, and the more clearly I see how He sees me. As much as I want to finish this painting, as much as God is doing a good work in and through me, I need to remember his promises for my life and not the distorted version the world presents.
Unfinished and loved by God completely.