Those who know me, also know how much my belief in a relational God who guides me is foundational to who I am. I respect, and am even intrigued, by others who have a totem animal, or a spirit guide in animal form; but that is counter to my core beliefs. This became a challenge for me in The Walk, an on-line art class by Brave Girls Club. As one of the many “maps” to make of our Life Journey, we were asked to depict our Travel Companion.
At first, I thought I would just make some artsy reminder of God, as my Guide…but that went nowhere. Then I thought I would do some creative illustrations of favorite Bible verses…but that also went nowhere. In her videos, the mentor for the course suggested we could depict “love” or “light” instead of a companion if that was more comfortable. Again, I couldn’t picture anything in my mind as a starting point (and until I can “see” the picture, I can’t seem to capture it on paper).
During the time I was pondering how to modify this lesson, manatees kept popping up in my life: in friends’ facebook posts, on the new arrivals shelf at the library, in my favorite exhibit at the zoo. I just assumed I was noticing the flood of manatees because they were a favorite animal of my son who died a few years ago. When I kept seeing manatees everywhere, I finally decided to look at what they stands for in dream imagery. And I realized that manatees represent the exact lessons I felt God was calling me to—surrender, trust, not striving.
When I finally decided to paint a manatee as a Travel Companion given to me by God as a reminder of the Journey I am on, this beautiful creature seemed to LEAP onto the paper! I started with a background of turquoise tones added to white gesso. When that dried, I sketched out the manatee, then started layering color with watercolor crayons. I added detail with Inktense pencils to make the manatee “pop.” Then I added journaling around the outlines, to remember the lessons God was showing me through this Travel Companion.
In case you wonder, the journaling says the following: “Choose peace instead of struggle. There are times to be a warrior but some situations in life require you to release the need to control outcomes. It’s time to slow down and swim through your emotions. TRUST God to guide–surrender to the current. Allow yourself to move forward slowly and deliberately, one step at a time. God will show you the path–trust His guidance and trust your senses.”
WELCOME, Travel Companion! Thanks for joining me in my Life Journey, to remind me of how I need to walk…