Collaged Story, painted papers, magazine pictures, Marcia Carole

“Have you journaled about your fire?” a friend asks me. “No.” I think to myself, “I want to forget about the fire.” Who wants to remember that a certain person(me) forgot to blow out a candle, which ended up exploding, lighting a wreath and 3 placemats on fire, lighting a table and chair on fire, causing smoke damage throughout my entire house. It wasn’t the Chicago fire, the cow didn’t kick anything over burning down an entire city, but it did cause my family and me to be elsewhere on Christmas and in the days following.

The dust, soot and smoke have all either settled or been washed and painted away. I now have a new beginning in my home. I am very thankful said home did not burn to the ground, and I’m sitting in my freshly cleaned living room having just finished a collaged book for a workshop next week. All seems back on track.

The fire made me think. I mostly thought about how the soot had gotten into everything I owned in my house. Everything had a trace of soot on it. All items in my house needed to be washed. For me, pain or hurt, lonliness or sorrow can be like that in my emotional life. It is hard to isolate it. It seems to affect my whole life when it is there.

What helps wash away the hurts and pain, loneliness or sorrow, for me, is seeing beauty. Seeing a freshly, snow-covered Mt. Ranier on a clear Seattle day encourages me in its beauty. Seeing the beautiful smiles of my grandsons or watching their wonder at the world around them, encourages my soul.

What also helps wash away adversity is the act of serving other women and investing in their lives with art making, or when I am creating art in response to God’s plans and purposes, or His tender words, in my life. Today, I finished a collaged book I made to help tell my story with other women. I am leading a workshop on Tuesday. It will be life-giving when creating with others again, and I pray I will play a part in their new beginnings as they make art to tell their stories.

Here is a verse a new friend gave me after she heard my story as I shared it with the above collaged book:
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
 Revelation 12:11

There are so many metaphors that come to mind. But I think your fire gave me a visual of how sin permeates every part of our lives. It isn’t enough to think of sin as “one little bad thing” that I can stop doing. It is more like the soot from your fire. Because of that soot, the entire home had to be dismantled and every inch reclaimed. That is what Jesus does and why angels must roll their eyes at how we play games with God. – JS

The cover of my accordion book…marble paper.


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