Although normally a positive people, we join the cloud of groaning, grieving, and horrified citizens searching for answers to this week’s massacre in Orlando. While society is sadly once again seeking answers to a mix of earthly and cosmic questions, our hearts want expression of the unknowable and unthinkable.
Gallery artist John Stantz found himself painting the words of his heart on Sunday. Layer on layer of color, stroke direction, splatter, and emotion vented into an incredibly beautiful abstract story. Fully communicating the collision of joy and youth and acceptance with a force of raw evil, the painting is named ‘considering the circus’. It is a testimony to the fact that evil will not prevail and that hearts will find expression.
John, like all of us is still processing. He writes that the name can have multiple meanings but that it is best at “reflecting on the events in Orlando over the weekend and the general chaotic nature of the world, considering the circus that is the human condition.”
Brokenness permeates the natural world as well as the man-made world. Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of so much of New Orleans was simply awful in its unfolding. Witnessing flood stranded people and pets on tops of sweltering building rooftops in late August 2005; seeing desperate responders using every boat, raft, or helicopter that could be found; and knowing that physical losses were only one component of vast personal loss and pain out there – I also had to paint.
In 'Hurricane Katrina' the winds swirl below. Rooftops with tiny figures are surrounded on all sides by murky water. All await some hope of rescue before the heat and need of water and food consume them. Boats and helicopters feverishly race the clock. Commercial streets are flooded and businesses are lost.
Through it all St. Louis Cathedral radiates hope and confidence in the future.
Long ago in the mists of time evil ravaged a good man named Job. Job cried out to his God for explanation. Explanation did not happen, but a dazzling reminder of the ultimate Creator’s creation of all that is good – time, space, place and life – did happen, and satisfied.