Thursday, June 14, 2012

On the Edge of the Nest

When I was a child I attended a church with a wonderful Children's Pastor. I still remember a story which my pastor told, yea acted out, about a mother eagle preparing her eaglet, comfortable as he was, to leave the nest and learn to fly. The mother eagle wisely placed small poky and prickly objects in the bed of the cozy nest, which would prompt the eaglet forward, to the edge of the nest, making him more willing and desirous of learning to fly. The story, hilariously portrayed by my pastor, a man of about 6'5", flapping his arms/wings in terror, as the eaglet learning to fly, was a metaphor for the spiritual truth of the way God often works to lead his children on the next step of the journey that he is preparing for them, prompting them forward out of the soft, comfortable place they've grown accustomed to. I have recalled this story a couple of times during the past school year, Artist Son's senior year and last year in Jordan. As I've mentioned, this has been a year of transition as we've relocated from Amman to Mafraq. Significant about the timing of this transition is that it came just as Artist Son began his senior year of high school. What's a seventeen year old guy to do when his parents move him from the bustling capital city in which he's always lived, to the dusty, sleepy, desert town of Mafraq? Jesus' words in the Gospel of Matthew comes to mind:

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. 
Matthew 6:33 (English Standard Translation)

This was Artist Son's response to the preparatory challenge God put in his path and it filled my mother's heart with joy to see God pour out his faithfulness and blessing on Artist Son as he lovingly prompted him along, placing just the right poky objects in his soft nest to prepare him for the next step of his journey.


Artist Son didn't normally play his drums in the desert, but as soon as we arrived in Mafraq and visited the evangelical church in town, he was recruited to play in the worship band, which until at that point, was lacking(and desiring) a drummer. Arrangements and rehearsals were handled in Arabic, challenging Artist Son to stretch and flex his atrophied Arabic muscles.

photo credit, Tayta

Moving to Mafraq also provided Artist Son with some meaningful content for his art. His AP Studio Art 2D Design Concentration portfolio theme was a juxtaposition of works focusing on his interaction and feelings of alienation in a foreign culture with his experiences of learning in the context of home and family. Below are a few of my favorite pieces.

The first two were initial sketches that Artist Son's teachers instructed him to "leave almost as they are"-- instant finals. That was unnerving to Artist Son as he is used to, and enjoys, adding painstaking detail to his finals. But he was behind schedule, so five sketches completed in one inspired day, turned into finals with only some minor additions, was a sweet deal for him. 

I love the movement in this first sketch.  It portrays Artist Son walking through the bus station, a new experience for him as he learned to travel between Amman and Mafraq by public bus. I like the movement it shows. His head was left blank to give a sort of Invisible Man effect.

This sketch-turned final has a sort of Pilgrim's Progress theme, showing Artist Son carrying words of Truth to guide him. Others Truth-bearers walk forward and one, without Truth, walks backward.

This was Artist's Son's final piece and portrays him learning, pondering, considering, in our home, particularly in our kitchen, a favorite place of study. I make my first cameo experience in Artist Son's art--my back side, but I'll take it as his teacher instructed him to make me the visual focal point of this work. The hands are symbolically grasping for seeds of truth.

I wish you could see this ink-wash in person. The hands, reaching heavenward to receive truth, have up to ten layers of ink-wash shading. The figures in backround do not know true life.

Antother sweet ending took place on the baseball field, as Artist Son, after a two-year hiatus from pitching due to an injured elbow, finished the his last four games in Amman Little League with some very nice pitching. He worked hard all season,conditioning and preparing so that he could take the mound for those final games.

photo credit, Tayta

So busy was Artist Son during our final weeks in Amman that we had to implore him to take a one hour break  from his studies so that we could shoot his senior pictures. He combed his hair (I think), grabbed an extra shirt, and he, Tayta, and I headed off to Um Al'Jimal, ruins of a Byzantine city just 15 minutes from our home, for a quick, and we prayed, successful photo shoot.

photo credit, Tayta


Artist Son and I were talking in the kitchen a week or so before we left Jordan, and he commented that he was "on the edge of the nest." Yes, and I think he's ready to fly.

Post Script: Artist Son will attend Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, as an A.J.Gordon Scholar and art major.


MagistraCarminum said...

Lovely, M- brought tears to my eyes! Fly, Artist son!

A Circle of Quiet said...

Thank you so much for posting A's art. It gives me a clearer idea of how God has gifted him. How exciting. His work is so good.


Mrs. Edwards said...

My nine-year-old son and I looked through these pictures together. Artist Son is truly offering his talent to God's glory. May God light his path.