I couldn’t sleep the night before; I had had a long day, with rehearsals and the briefing. Then after that I had to do some finishing touches on the stuff to be presented the next day. Plus prep the ‘canvas’ I would use. It was going to be a long and interesting day, considering I had never done this sort of thing before. Who would have thought that I would be in this position today? I was plenty nervous. The best thing about it was that I didn’t have to study for it or anything like that. It was just something that would have to come from the very depth of my soul.
The only thing that would hinder this would be… fear. Funny enough the theme for this auspicious festival was ‘fearless expression.’ I would have to say ‘hello fear’ and speak my soul, not necessarily in words but through colour and strokes. I only had a limited amount of time to do so… Whoa! I don’t usually work with people watching, I work in seclusion, but this day I would have to do what I do in front of people… many people! Hello fear! Not once, not twice, but thrice. Painting an expression of the service in front of the congregation, during the service, then sharing what it was I had with everyone. I am not the most eloquent of people, so the explaining bit will be interesting.
So I was at chapel by around 7am. I had to make sure my station was set for the service and that I had all I needed. We had a prayer session before the service started, Lord! What am I going to paint? Now I was getting nervous. I kept reminding myself that this required no ‘pre plan’ that I was doing this for my audience of one. Even in the midst of all the eyes, and minds wondering ‘what’s going on up there?’ you see this twist to the service was not communicated to the congregation before hand. All they knew was that it was the launch of the Art festival. The specifics as to the order of the service was to be revealed and experienced in real time! So I can only imagine what the congregation was thinking when they walk into the sanctuaries’ ’garage junk yard’ set up. Even Pastor O and Flora were in overalls. It looked pretty cool. :0
So the service starts, am seated facing my easel, the worship team begins to lead people into worship, I need to start putting something on canvas, need to get my thoughts out. I go into my world, with nothing but the music ringing in my ear, listening to the words I am engulfed in it… after a while my name is mentioned and I need to put down my pastel. Gosh, was that 50 minutes already? It was time to share what I had. I walk up to where Pastor O, someone I totally admire was. I am introduced and I share my abstract expression of ‘the box of fear’. My box of fear, which believe it or not I had stepped out of, just by being there at that very moment. This was me, aliza, talking out my heart to a bunch (ok, more than a bunch) of people, friends and strangers alike! A moment of mixed emotions, amazement, gratitude, I was humbled, it was all I could do to keep the tears from rolling down my cheeks. This was a huge deal for me… no one can quite understand what that moment means to me.
It was a prayer answered. A miracle fulfilled. A huge leap for me, and not just artistically. It was a page from my journal, my heart for all to see. And people were actually listening to what I was saying!
One down, two more to go. There goes the question in my head again. What will happen for the next service? I tried to relax as I listened to Flora speak. That was refreshing. She’s one cool woman. After the service I took some time out, just to compose myself. Then when it was time, God did speak through colour yet again… ‘Faces!’ a depiction of us, in our dailies, acting all together yet there’s so much we hide within ourselves that needs to be dealt with. And this can only happen when we let the cross of Christ cut through all aspects of our lives, then and only then will we find healing, individually and as a nation.
During the break before the last service, I went for some refreshment. Then sat out on the steps, tired, and thinking over the last service. I found myself staring at a window that was draped. I couldn’t get my eyes off it. When it was time for service, I sat at my easel once again. ‘Lord speak’ Is all my heart could say. The worship team had sang about ‘tasting’ The Lord and experiencing His grace and goodness… put that together with the window I couldn’t stop looking at and painting number three was birthed. Depicting the fact that often times we drape the window that God so willingly has open for us. We see very little of what He is and has. And so we shortchange ourselves. Reiterating the fact that its time we stopped hanging about in the periphery and looked through that window! Taste and See.
I still had the exhibition later that afternoon. And was waiting on some of my work to be delivered. Shock! They didn’t seem to be coming and my contact was unreachable! I was getting frustrated, so I switched off. Pulled myself together to concentrate on what it is I had. If there’s one thing I have been taught from when I was a child, it was to use what I had. To make the best of it.
It was 4pm, people started streaming in, I had my friends there. Their support means a lot. I had a great time, lots of laughs. I got to talk with really cool people. I met an amazing painter who shared quite a bit with me, his words very encouraging. This whole experience has taught me to take my painting a lot more seriously than I thought I was. This is the highlight of my year. What a way to phase off all the pain I have been through. I am encouraged. I am psyched.
This is what I have learnt; to face my fears and cling to my faith. Taking life a day at a time, doing my bit and letting God settle the rest and He has time and again, been there. Over and over He is my companion seeing me through the hurdles and laughing with me through the joys. I shudder to think where I would be without Him. Am glad I don’t have to be.