A Way of Drawing

Drawing is magic. Like composing a song or creating a garment from a bolt of cloth, drawing transforms a blank piece of paper into another world. If you do this marvelous thing, you probably already know how spiritual it can be. My artist friends talk about seeing lines and curves and colors differently when they are drawing, either from nature or from a picture in their mind’s eye.

But I can’t draw a thing. They did try to teach me, back when there was art in the public schools. I was taught the techniques, but somehow, when I do it, it looks like what it is; a technique, but not art. I am an ace at stick figures, though. And I am really good at encouraging other people to draw; when I taught elementary school, I had wonderful bulletin boards done by my students!

So it would seem a little strange that I use drawing as a spiritual practice. But I find it very helpful in “drawing” out of myself those problems and worries that never take center stage, but seem to keep slipping into my life.

The technique is simple; I just get out some crayons and blank paper and just let the crayon wander over the paper. Sometimes a word emerges, sometimes a diagram, sometimes a color or combination of colors. I find that it helps to choose a medium that delights your soul; colored pencils, paints, charcoals, chalk. By accessing the other side of my brain, I can find things that just don’t seem to surface when I pray. Often what I find is an emotion or an experience. In my hands, it never even resembles a piece of art. Yours might take a recognizable form. But no matter what I learn from drawing, it helps me understand myself and my world.

God speaks even through an art form that is not my strong suit. The Holy Spirit teaches me despite my weakness. We serve a God who communicates by all means possible; the Still Speaking God always finds a way, if we are willing to accept it.

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