This weekend, I received the honor or participating in a birthday celebration that was the start of a tradition that fathers of pre-teens will continue as our guys transition from boys into men. Using a medieval model of a page or squire’s transition into knighthood, The elder (did I seriously just refer to myself as an elder?!) men who influenced this young man’s life during his fourteen years spoke our wisest encouragements and charges to compile a code for strong, influential and Christian manhood. Along with my contribution to the man code, I also participated by commemorating the event with spontaneous visual art.
My first objective for the piece I would create was something that represented the young man’s boyhood. I’ve known him for the last five years, in that time it became quite obvious among his top passions is playing baseball. Using an image shared on social media with a Sports Illustrated-worthy pose (wearing his baseball uniform, echoing his #4 with his right hand), I re-created his silhouette using spray paint on a plywood panel. Quite honestly, I was hesitant to continue with the piece because I was so pleased with the panel at this point! (kind of Banksy, don’t you think?)
The men commenced to taking turns speaking into this new man’s life, encouraging him in some areas and teaching him in others. As each man spoke, I listened intently for the key words appearing in our code for manhood. Using oil pastels and a graffiti style, I applied these words over the shadow of the boy that once was to signify the foundations of the man who will be.
Courage, character, faith, blessing, respect, strength, integrity, excellence – qualities that define a man.
Today’s installment of Threads dissected clues through the Bible that give us glimpses into God’s character. What does the character of the being that intentionally created space, nature, you and me look like? Grace, creativity, royalty? I drew the only image I was able to conceive that encompassed the attributes we mentioned in our short time plus many more. I see God as an open hand; gentle, inviting, welcoming, gracious and giving. How do you see God’s character?
North Ridge is taking a new perspective on new year’s resolutions in 2012. Instead of resolving to “fix” some habit we have or gain a positive habit and abandoning that idea within weeks, we’re being encouraged to pick a single word and aspire to embody that word throughout 2012. The concept is, narrowing our focus to a single word will last longer than an idea while also being applicable to many areas of life. My drawings so far during this series are so closely connected that they’re better understood when seen together rather than individually. Today’s post includes the drawings for weeks 1 and 2.
Week one helped us define what it is about starting a new year that inspires us to make resolutions in the first place. A new year marks an opportunity for a new beginning, the slate of the earlier year wiped clean and we have the opportunity to write a new chapter of life making necessary changes. Like a snake molting its outer layer of skin, we molt the regrets we hold, the choices we made, the events we celebrated during the year on December 31 and store them deep in our memory. We awake fresh on January 1 in a new, unblemished layer of skin to wear and protect over the next 365 days. Our goal is admirable, guard this new coat better than in previous years; keep this year’s outer epidermal layer free from cuts and abrasions by promising behavior modification. The thing is, you’re human, I’m human, we inevitably slip up and scrape our knee on the playground. So if its nearly guaranteed we’re going to break our resolutions, why bother making any? Grace.
Grace from God and grace from yourself gives you the opportunity to try again, to experience December 31 and clean the slate all over again. Grace does not give us a free pass to sin, it’s contingent on repentance. Grace is when you’re given what you don’t deserve, mercy is when you’re saved from getting what you do deserve.
This year, focus on a single word to become and apply through your life, but remember it’s a learning process that needs grace for a do-over or two before it sticks.