The Canvas of Life

The sky spreads overhead, stretching out as a giant canvas upon which
nature paints many magnificent pictures. A sunny day, a blue sky and small wisps
of clouds beckon the onlooker to gaze at the canvas and enjoy the serenity. A
stormy day, a gray sky and rolling black clouds arrest the attention of the passer-
by, commanding fascination with the portrait of a storm’s power and strength. In
this gallery of heaven’s murals, most of us have developed an eye for the beauty
of the art form and we are not unlearned in our skills of interpretation of the
paintings. From the meteorologist to the small child, we read the messages of the
sky and we pause to enjoy each painting.
 
The materials from which the masterpieces are constructed (the sun, the
moon and the stars) are in set courses, appearing on the sky’s canvas because God
has preordained these courses. The clouds, however, are a variable in the
composition. The spreading of the clouds depends upon the vapors which arise
from the earth’s surface. Responding to the heat of the sun, the earth’s waters
condense into vapor and rise to form the clouds. The clouds then hold the waters
until they are released back to the earth in the form of rain, enabling the ground to
sustain life.
 
Our individual lives are not too dissimilar to this scenario. God has
preordained some constants – certain aspects of our being which are not in our
choosing but which regularly appear upon the canvas of our life. Our physical
features, our basic personality, our fundamental talents and gifting: these were
created in us as God fashioned us in the womb.
 
However, as in nature, the spreading of the clouds is a variable in the
portrait which others will see as they observe our life’s canvas. We each have the
ability to send forth vapors, the essence of which may be rejoicing or complaining,
contentment or contrariety, forgiveness or revenge, hope or despair. These vapors
rise to contribute to the mural, and they rise to form the substance of that which
will soon distill back upon us. Just as rain clouds bring rain, that which evaporates
from us will return again to us.
 
Some lives are lovely to behold and receive showers of friendship and
favor. Other lives are turbulent and dark, like the threatening storm clouds, which
produce and receive trouble. Perhaps God has placed it within our ability to
change the portrait that appears upon our life’s canvas by as small a process as
changing the vapors which we release.

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~Dr. Patti Amsden