Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Replacing Ugliness

I spent the entire afternoon at the Greenway near Squirrel Lake Park, with Asherel and her friend Josh as my assistants, transforming ugly smelly methane pipes into art.

First, let me say that if my writing stinks today, it is because I am suffering from methane poisoning. From now on, any character flaw or problem I exhibit will be claimed as a result of methane poisoning. Surely, with the outpouring of methane which I inhaled for 6 straight hours, I must have done damage to my body. The flow of methane gas was much stronger than I had anticipated. I should have taken my cousin's advice and worn a gas mask. I could hear it rushing out. This cannot be a healthy place to stand, I thought, and held my breath while painting right beneath the methane flow. Still, it was worth it.

Several small children passed by as we painted, their tiny red cheeked faces agog. One disabled woman was wheeled in front of the giraffes and she sat there quite some time watching us. Several runners ran by, and gave me a thumbs up. Many elderly couples strolled by and stopped to watch and chat, thanking me for transforming those ugly eyesores.

With the able assistance of my daughter and her friend Josh, we finished the entire thing, except for the antlers and ears. The Parks and Rec staff will attach those soon, per my instructions. One other artist sauntered by and was incredulous that we had completed two giraffes in a single afternoon.
"I had good help," I said, "And besides, I have always been known for getting things done quickly, if not expertly."

Josh and Asherel took several breaks to wade in the creek, daring the copperheads to bite, or playing disc golf, and throwing frisbees. However, I never paused from my work, since I knew it was the perfect day with no rain expected, and if I could finish in one afternoon, it would be a blessing.

And it was a blessing. I haven't been so transported to another world in a long time as I was yesterday afternoon. My daughter was happy, and enjoying the beautiful day. She and her friend were contributing with excellence....and they knew it. I was loving the creative outpouring, as thick and fast as the methane gas filling my lungs. Big ugly cement blobs and poisonous gas pipes were transformed almost miraculously into whimsical, gentle, and lovable giraffes.

One man and his wife stopped by, and watched me for a little while. Finally, he said, "You are taking the ugliest thing here and making it a thing of beauty."

I stopped painting and stood up, rubbing my back that was aching mightily.
"Thank you for saying that," I told him, "That is exactly what I had hoped to do." It is exactly what Jesus did for me, and it is exactly what every one of us should do with our life. Wherever we see darkness, strive to bring light. Wherever we see oppression, strive to bring freedom. Wherever we see corruption, strive to bring cleansing. Wherever we see hatred, strive to bring love. Wherever we see hopelessness, strive to bring faith. Take the ugliest thing you know, and strive to make it a thing of beauty.

Isaiah 61:1,3 (NIV)
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, [3] and provide for those who grieve in Zion---to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

-save a dog- hollowcreekfarm.org


  1. i LOVE the giraffes! your work will surely bless many.

  2. I love, love, love the giraffes! Beauty from ashes....or in this case beauty from gases!

    1. LOVE beauty from gasses. Wish I had thought of it....

  3. Well, you can use it if you want to. Thanks for spelling it correctly. I realized I left out an "s" after it published.