Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I'll Be Seeing You

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

I am done with the painting of this particular project. I still have some finishing things to do like the frame and hangers and shipping. The other day as I was looking at it I was reminded of the old song "I'll Be Seeing You. " I had a bit of free time on Monday so I decided to make a recording of me singing and playing the song and put it in a video with moving still photos from the River Walk Painting project.
If you follow my art blog you have already seen this video. If you are new to my writing you might enjoy checking out my other blog where I share up dates on my art projects.

This painting has been quite a journey for me. My friend Eleanore wrote me the other day with this comment about the painting. "The smartest thing Ive done in a long time is getting reacquainted with you.  The second smartest thing Ive done in a long time is asking you to do a painting for me.  Damn, Im smart!  Well its absolutely beautiful, Margot, but then I expected it would be."

Being reacquainted after more than 30 years is interesting. There are people who strike up friendships on face book and they mostly just lurk your page. They might send you game requests but they never really say anything. Some how that is considered being a friend.  Eleanore has not been that kind of a friend we have shared notes and she sends me cards now for holidays. She said to me at one point that they never forgot me and would often talk about me. She expressed how hard it was to find women because of name changes. Its funny with some people is like you simply pick back up where you left off. My friendship with Eleanore has been like that. Sure lots has changed over the years but being able to be part of someones life even though they may live miles across the country is such a blessing. 

She is now sending me accolades. She sent this one from her older son. I remember spending some time with he and his young family but I never knew him as well as the rest of the family. "
She writes, This from son David...Margot really did an awesome job. What a talented woman she has become. Love, Dave"  It is his daughters son, who is the face of the sun in my painting. I remember holding her as a tiny baby and now have painted her wee child in a painting. Its been a trip down memory lane. 

At one point I was sharing with Eleanore how I had no pictures form that time period of my life. I don't know if I destroyed them all at some point after her younger son and I finally broke up. Or if I just did not have any because at the time my own relationship with my mom was pretty strained. Anyway Eleanore sent me a package of photos - she of course told me that they also had her son in all of them. I assured her I was ok with that at this point. We were a pretty solid couple through high school and did everything together. In college we were on again and off again. I was sure he was "The One" and that we would both eventually grow up and get married and live happily ever after. It did not work out that way and in the end I was devastated. I did not deal with that loss and pain in a very good way. I took it all and just locked it away. I avoided anything that stirred up those memories. Until eventually I could not even remember why I no longer did some things. For 30 some years the memories from that time period have been suppressed.  

I gotta say when Eleanore and her son showed up independently at about the same time in face book land it really rocked my world and I knew God was up to something. I could not even tell you at the time why it caused me such inner turmoil. That began a long journey of layer by layer removing the things that had long been hiding the trunk in my heart of locked up pain and memories from my view. Little by little the Lord has helped me sort through all that stuff. I've had to repent of my own poor behavior and the way I dealt with things. I had to really forgive. I had to grieve some wonderful dreams and lost plans. Those memories had never been put away clean. I found out that things that you lock up come back with all the initial pain, emotion and feelings that they were suppressed with.I did not expect that part. I thought those feelings would have faded. I found that when you lock up the painful memories that any surrounding good ones also become locked up. I think its pretty amazing that the brain has the capacity to wall things off and even in very severe abuse cases split and create more than one personality to try and cope with trauma.  

I have to say that as I allowed the Lord to take me through those locked up, secret places that he never condemned me for my many failings. He helped me to forgive, and repent and to finally put those memories away clean. I never know for sure if I've gotten through all of it. There was a period where he helped me see the origins of my long held belief that "I was not ___ enough. For years I fought past those feeling of inadequacy, they were part of something that I had taken the wrong way and for years believed that the fault lay with me for not having been good enough. I've worked through the whole idea that my life was forever off track and I was having to make the best of plans b, c, d..... I had to come to grips with the sovereignty of God. That all the stuff I have been through - was not a surprise to him. I can see how things have molded me and shaped me. It has been a tremendous journey. 

One of the things that I stopped doing because it triggered too many memories from that time period was painting. I think its pretty amazing that the person who asked me to paint again after 30 years was Eleanore. It was the loss of her family that was so extremely painful to me that I blocked all of those memories and stayed away from things that triggered them. It strikes me as a remarkable God thing that God has restored our relationship and given me back something that I once really loved doing.    

I guess I am surprised that I am able to talk about this. It has been quite a journey of healing. I have really not shared it with anyone - maybe little bits of it here and there.  
I guess at this point what amazes me is the power of God to heal and to restore. 

You may be wondering like I have, why God would allow this deep brokenness to remain all these years. As I have prayed about it I was reminded of the story of the wheat and the tares.  An enemy had sown weeds in the freshly planted field and the workers came to the master all distressed wanting to know what to do. The master said to let the weed remain because to try and separate them would only damage the wheat. So I believe that for 30 years God has allowed me to grow in my relationship with him to the point where my trust in him has become mature and strong enough to be able to finally face these broken places.  
The Parable of the Weeds 
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

So whats the take away from this post for you? Sometimes there are things that we carry for a very long time. God's timing is perfect, he knows when you are ready to deal with those things. I guess my starting place was to allow the Lord into my secret places. The bible says the secret places belong to the Lord. I had read that verse for years to be like a secret garden but then one day I read it to be my secret places - those dark forgotten corners, those places of loss, guilt, shame. Those secret places belonged to the Lord. I have learned in the past several years to allow him to meet me there. 
I never know if there is more or not. We seem to come to resting places and I feel so tremendously free as if a huge weight has been lifted off of my life. I have been a notorious stuffer and blocker of all things painful so this process may go on for quite a while. I am ok with it. I have learned how to allow the Lord to lead me through it all little by little. He helps me see it from his perspective. To help me know what to release into the sea of his forgiveness and forgetfulness and what things to put away clean so that when they come up again there still may be the trace of the scars but they are no longer rotting and festering wounds. I guess my encouragement is to allow the Lord into your secret places allow him to help you to deal with those broken places. Let him shine his light in the dark corners and behind the locked doors and to go through the boxes and trunks of things long forgotten and perhaps never put away cleanly. 

Dear Lord, 
You already know everything there is to know about us. Yet you wait patently for us to invite you in. Thank you that you are so compassionate and merciful. Give us the courage to face those things that we have avoided. Help us to trust your sovereignty and timing.

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