“The Elusive Image” (A 90-second read about drawing the impossible)

November 7, 2012
By

girl  drawingYou have likely heard the story of a little girl who sat down to draw, and when her teacher asked what she was going to draw, she said, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” 

“But, honey, no one knows what God looks like,” the teacher said.  To which the little girl replied, “They will in a minute!”

I was reminded of the story during my recent Contemplative Living Group meeting when we were asked to talk about our “images of God.”  When I shared the little girl’s story, our group leader said, “Oh, maybe we are all like that.  When we are asked what God looks like for us, maybe we can say, ‘Well, give me a minute, and I’ll show you.’”

I remember when I was first learning to pray as a child, I had so much trouble with the idea of talking to someone of whom I did not have an image.  I now know that this had less to do with my spiritual-development, and more to do with my human-development as my brain had not yet ripened a theory of mind.  (Consider how some children respond when you hand them a telephone.  They look at the handset and lack the ability to comprehend that it is merely a tool for communication and not the focus of the interaction.  Click on the link if you’re interested in this fascinating piece of developmental psychology.)

But now I do have an image of God.  And if you will give me a minute, I will share it.

God looks like you.

I see God in others.

I don’t mean to imply, as some do, that everyone is a god.  I mean that I see God accompanying spiritual beings as they experience this thing we call humanity.  I see God in their laughter, their beauty, their eyes, their kindness, their love, and in their thinking as it is expressed through conversation, inspiration, and revelation.

This necessarily means that I also see God internally, within Self.

Often, I am told that my spaces exude peace, and that my work demonstrates the Divine.  I like that, and I most humbly embrace the remarks not as compliments, but as a recognition of that Supreme Light that miraculously causes my Shadow to disappear, and my faith to be realized.

And now I have a minute.  So will you tell me your image of God?  

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5 Responses to “The Elusive Image” (A 90-second read about drawing the impossible)

  1. November 7, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Years ago, I was asked to translate for a nine year old boy. His parents spoke Spanish, but he was deaf. Although he knew sign language, his parents did not. Because I could communicate in Spanish, English, and sign language, I was asked to help translate.

    One day, he came to Sunday School. He had never been to a Sunday School before; I translated. That day, the story was told about Noah and the ark. At the end of the story, I signed about the rainbow. I told him that rainbows were a sign from God.

    He looked at me puzzled. He had never seen the sign for God before.

    We that hear, have heard sermons, songs, and stories about God. However, for this little one, well, he had neither heard nor seen such a thing. He signed to me, “What is God? God sent the rainbow, what is God?”

    I had to think for a second. Then I signed to him. God is good. God is kind. He saves us and cares for us. When we need him, we can ask for his help. He will embrace us and we will never walk alone. He is a Spirit. He is everywhere.

    Suddenly, his eyes widened. He took his hands and made the sign of a big heart.” This is God. God is love.” I nodded. He reached out and hugged me. I replied, “Yes, that is right. God is love.”

  2. November 8, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Tiki, thank you. Sometimes words do not exist… –N

  3. SUZY
    November 8, 2012 at 8:20 am

    The illustration of a child looking at a phone…not understanding that it is just a tool to be able to communicate was brilliant. Your ability to communicate and impart so much in so few words is truly a gift. THANK YOU! I shared this…and it went to LINKIN. How do I get it to post of FACE BOOK? I want to share it with all my friends so their hearts can be impacted , as mine has been. Your friend from Africa, SUZY!!!

  4. November 9, 2012 at 7:39 am

    That All-That-Isness that is responding to your vibration is that which you call God; existing in everything, everywhere and all the time.

    God is the power-back of ALL.

    While I (you) do not make up ALL of God; God is certainly ALL of me (you). I am not a/the God but I am of God – like a drop of water in the ocean is a microcosm of the ocean itself.

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Nathaniel is CEO of AidChild.org. He holds a Master's Degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University where he was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, and winner of the 2010 Harvard HDP Marshal Award. He also holds a PhD in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego where he was the Dammeyer Fellow in Global Education Leadership, and a Cordes Fellow at Opportunity Collaboration. Nathaniel is author of "We Are Not Mahogany: Three stories about the male African life." Prior to his move to Uganda in 2000, Nathaniel was Deputy Director of the Office of the Governor of Arizona, and Director of Education at Leadership, Inc.

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