Have you ever stopped to envision your picture of Paradise?
Since, as Christians, it is our ultimate goal, it might be healthy for our soul…to get a clearer picture of our future home and along the way we might uncover important sign posts of how to create a more heavenly atmosphere around us.
I’m not sure how I stumbled across this image, but somehow the sunlit scene of a bamboo forest caught by eye. “There must be some reason I find it so appealing” I thought and so I downloaded it for future reference, “something to journal about next week.”
There were several ways to go with this image and all would be interesting.
I could look up a little about the artist’s life, Hiroshi Yoshida, who was a 20th century Japanese painter and woodblock print maker and well known for making beautiful landscapes of non-Japanese subjects. “Interesting” I thought and definitely worth another look in the future, but still none of this was getting to the heart of why the painting is calling to me, personally.
Next I wondered about the special meaning of bamboo for the Japanese people and I discovered a myriad of symbolic meanings of strong human characteristics. Bamboo is capable of great flexibility without breaking; always growing and still yet ready for use; strongly rooted and finding its greatest usefulness in simplicity. Yes, bamboo is truly remarkable and a beautiful symbol to the Asian cultures.
But why is this image attractive to me? Perhaps it is because it looks like paradise, to me, and for that reason alone it is worthy of a deeper look. I decided to make a simple list of 5 words and to this I began by asking myself:
“How would you describe your vision of paradise?”
My list: Peace-Beautiful-Abundant-Exploration-Home
And then I take each word and briefly journal deeper into what I mean by these words.
Peace: Serene, no stress, no fear, trusting in God completely, the sound of silence, time for prayer.
Beautiful: Things that are pleasing to the eye; a place that fills the soul with wonder and praise for God; the sound of singing; singing voices, singing violins, singing harps, even singing trumpets:)
Abundance: Plenty, more than enough, overflowing with good things, the sound of flowing water and gently rain and laughter inspire my thankfulness.
Exploration: New things to discover; new people and places; travel, new ideas and insights; The sound of morning songbirds and the sight of a sunrise; gentle encouragements.
Home: Belonging, comfortable and warm, nurturing, easy, healthy, loved, the sound of flute in early morning warm-up scales. Sanctuary-Late night chats…
I encourage you to make your own list of words. I found it most revealing.
May God’s vision of grace peace be with you this week and may you feel loved by your creator.
“Praise the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate–bringing forth food from the earth; wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.”
~ Psalm 104 1-2, 14-15