by Marjorie George
The piece of art was hanging on the wall of my favorite bookstore/gift shop. Done in muted shades of deep pink, green, and yellow, it captured a sweet rendering of a simple, lovely young woman with a flower in her hair. And beneath it the words:
Dear Girl, you are the one you have been waiting for.
I bought the piece intending to give it to a young woman I know. Then I decided it was a message I needed to hear myself. I wasn’t too sure I understood it, but somehow it spoke truth to me.
“Are you the one we’ve been waiting for?” John’s disciples came asking Jesus (Matthew 11:2).
“Go tell John what you see,” Jesus replied – the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, and the good news is all over the place.
Seizing the teachable moment, Jesus turned to the crowd surrounding him and put the question to them: “And you – who is it you are waiting for?” A reed swaying in the wind? A man dressed in fine clothes? A prophet? (11:7-9).
Never mind answering, he added. You do not have ears to hear it. You want whom you want. You want one who will tell you what you want to hear, one who will dance to your pipes and mourn at your dirges. You want to play the tune and have God almighty adjust himself to the pitch (11:17).
For whom do we wait? In what do we invest all our hope?
It happens sometimes with a piece of art that you can scrape away the top layer of paint to reveal a different drawing underneath. Artists call it pentimento. An artist at the work of creating will envision the final piece in a certain way, but in the act of creating will see other ways of presentation. A tree originally envisioned as upright might end up bent over in the final work. A hand in the subject’s lap turns out to be a hand to the heart.
I wondered what the pentimento might be beneath the finished portrait of the lovely, innocent young woman.
I wondered about the pentimento beneath the “you” and the “me” that we present to the world. How closely do we now project the original intent of our creator? And have the changes been of His making or our own?
We can spend our entire lives desperately trying to find “the one” – the one thing, the one plan, the one lover, the one possession by which our lives will finally be fulfilled. We change our addresses, we change our hair, we adopt personas that do not belong to us. We dance to the pipes of others and sing dirges about things we do not truly mourn.
Nothing satisfies. Until we look inward, way down deep inside, to touch “the one” of God’s creation and Christ’s redeeming.
You are the one you have been waiting for. Not the you of your creation; the you of God’s creation. When you find it, buy it, take it home, hang it on your wall. That’s what I’m going to do. I think maybe I understand it now.
Marjorie George is editor of ReflectionsOnline and Reflections magazine. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.