The best laid Advent plans

So well laid.

Such Advent plans.

Early, early morning gym. Early morning mass. Get holy and stuff.

And then, day one of Advent-week, Monday itself…I came down with a violent stomach flu for a couple days. Today was the first time back at work.

Le sigh.

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I’m working on a new linocut for Christmas. I sketched it first, based off of a picture I found online of a mommy pulling her newborn baby to her chest.

The picture is full of activity and emotion and it’s a little messy, too…but I loved it, and sketched out her hands, the baby’s little body…but then I got scared–was it too much? The other cards are all so pristine. So I texted a picture of the sketch to my sister.

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Picture of the mommy and the baby here. Look at dat cat in the corner. The baby’s cord. The midwife’s uterus tat. 

“Is this too much?” I asked my sister, with a picture of a baby whose cord hasn’t yet been cut. God, with us. So very, very with us.

She texted me back, “No, it’s not too much” she texted, “I like his butt-cheeks.”

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Once I heard a talk by a really amazing lady, and it was about prayer and relationship with God and it challenged me on many levels–“are you a fair-weather friend of God’s?” she asked.

Probably.

A little.

I mean, I wasn’t exactly great at prayer when I was dead-sick in a bed this whole week.

I told Jesus about that last night and thought about Martha and Mary.

Maybe the key, there, was that Martha was so caught up in doing that she just forgot to be. And Jesus didn’t care about all the stuff. He just wanted her. To be herself. With him.

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Making art is an exercise in mystery, because, for all your best-laid plans, you really have no idea how it will turn out.

I’m two nights into carving out a block of linoleum with four different blades–this one wide and smooth, that one narrow and shallow, that one deep and precise, this last one a little more precise. The linoleum smells when I carve it, a faint smell like rubber mixed with some kind of wood-dust.

I had a plan, a sketch, but translating color and shade into two dimensions (and backwards) sometimes tricks the eye and the brain, so I’ve made a few mistakes that I’ve had to accept and incorporate, because that’s what one must do in linoblock carving, and it’s what I must do in life as well, I guess.

How messy and unpredictable.

And He wants to join us in all of this anyway.

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