* * * * * * * * * * * * * *Last week, my Sunday school class completed our soul collages. You can see mine below. Just a few words of explanation: two Sundays ago, we met and cut. We were instructed to just cut out anything that struck us, and not to listen to our "disapproving rabbit," (that part of us that tells us not to cut something out because it's....whatever disparaging thing the rabbit comes up with to discourage us). It was really a lot of fun. We got to gab while paging through magazines, and it was strangely calming. Or perhaps not so strange, since it was an enforced break from our hectic everything. A lot of images struck me, but only one made me gasp--that one below of the hole in the mountain--so I knew that one had to make the final cut and be in my collage.
The next week, we glued. The finished collage is only about 5x7 inches, so we really had to be thoughtful about which images to include. Some of us made more than one, so that none of our images had to be discarded. I say we had to be thoughtful, but it was really more intuitive than thoughtful. I just started arranging the elements on the page until it felt right. As I was arranging my images, I noticed that, apart from the dancing people and the four background images that I cut out, everything that I cut out was natural (not surprising, since I love being outside, and feel closest to God in nature), and everything was round--not everything was perfectly round, but everything was round (which symbolizes eternity)."I AM" is, I think, my favorite name for God. I think I blogged about it, but just to recap, to me, "I AM" means that God is who and what God is regardless of how I, or anyone else, perceives God. Just because I think God is...fill in the blank...doesn't mean that God really is. God simply is. God doesn't need me to define Him. The hole in the mountain reminded me of that song that goes, "there's a God-shaped hole in all of us..." I love the dancing people, because I strive to dance in my life (a la "I Hope You Dance"). And I included a selection of three (does anyone see the Trinity?) of my round things, because it just felt right: a twig ball, raindrops on a leaf (which remind me of tears), and a sunflower (which reminds me of joy). I'd also like to point out that my collage spilled out over the edges of my 5x7 card, again, because it just felt right.
So after we finished our collages, we had a little conversation with them, journaling the responses--this is where I hit a block. Some of the questions we were to ask our collage were, "who are you?" "what do you have to give me?" and "what do you want from me?" I had no idea what this card was trying to say to me, but then, I had a breakthrough.
My card told me that it was messy, but perfectly made, just like me. It gave me the realization that I am imperfect on purpose, that God is the author of my imperfections. And it wanted from me, just acceptance. This soul collage symbolizes to me that, just like God, I am who and what I am, regardless of how others perceive me, or even how I perceive myself. I am who and what I am, and that is beautiful.
It's really amazing to me that this little collage of images, put together with not much thought, can be so meaningful and transforming--I guess all that's required is an open spirit to accept the message.