Family Portrait 1994

I found this drawing in a 1994 sketchbook: a family portrait with an imagined future.

Reading from left to right:

My mother, in an Ohio nursing home, seriously declining from dementia – already headed off the family stage.

Me, overweight, weighed down by cares concerning Lew (in a Louisville nursing home and not likely to be able to come home) and cares concerning Jay, 11 – typical in development but with all the stresses of adolescence on him and on us.

My father, sad, lonely, trying to be strong and hopeful in the midst of these family stresses.

My spouse, sad, stressed, trying to be strong and hopeful in the midst of these family stresses….

A future “me.”  Teaching, preaching maybe, having an active art career.  Not overweight or weighed down by life.

Here at the end of 2009 I have just finished reading Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life.   He talks a lot about getting stuck in your story and imagining a next and better chapter.  A friend who lent me the book asked me “Can you imagine how God may want to bless the next chapter of your life?”

At this moment I am having some difficulty with that question but this drawing tells me that sixteen years ago I imagined a hopeful future.  Of course there was a lot of pain involved in getting here: mother died, son died, father died, Judson launched, marriage stressed.

BUT my current life looks a lot like the drawing on the right: thinner and in better health, fulfilling work in ministry, art career including teaching.

How would I draw my hopeful next chapter today?  How would you?