While in Seattle I went to see Sigrid Sanstom's art at the Frye.
It was one of the many ways I was listening before coming to see friends @ Soliton. The images of ice connected me to what I saw and experienced in Alaska, but the images of explorers with flags staking claims arrested my attention. She speaks to the longing in us to "lay claim". She wonders through her paintings, films and installations whether permanence is impossible and what we do with the longing which can often distract us from our purpose. The question hangs in the air. The film of a vast ocean with a flag on a floating buoy let's the question be beautiful and fascinating.
Some notes form my journal as I reflected on these images:
I see that flag again. How can one be welcoming in a barren expanse? We have to have a rootedness in order to welcome. Do we see a wilderness in us longing for a claim; a place to settle? This artist says there is a falsity to laying claim. And it's disturbing to think only because she may be right. We follow Jesus who was of a clan of wanderers. Why do we put up structures? And when we do, why are surprised it can't hold people?
We make a home, but only for children who move away. We make a church, but it cannot contain heaven. I am really speaking of houses and Cathedrals; the symbols.
Maybe like the faith of the Father, I can love and never let go. Maybe that faith sees the whole. Maybe the Prodigal in fact never really left the Father. The Father only lost sight of him. It is fitting that the Father would trust this. He knows because of growth. (And the son(s) being in his bloodline can be expected to grow likewise.) At least this is the design of things, this is the opportunity. This is the inheritance, freely given. Whether he is alive or dead, it doesn't matter, the Father was more than willing to give it away. Here I am reminded that this must be a story of God. How impossible it all seems.
The Father, this Good Father, shows himself to always give freely. Even to the one who stays at home. The Elder somehow did not understand he was free to receive and lay claim. The Father says "Here, take it all"
We can be the son who takes all from the Father and we can be the Father who gives all to the son. The Love between them is the Holy Spirit, the hidden love that makes things visible. I don't know whether I can say I've layed claim to this love. I don't know if love is like a wide open sea with a depth too deep to anchor. But this painting speaks of Home. And I choose to trust the one who paints it.