It was an amazing experience working on these hydrangeas. The collector asked me to create a piece featuring blue hydrangeas and gave me the following prayer request, "I think the prayers needed most at this point are prayers for understanding, love and acceptance in our society. These are the things that are ever present in our minds and what we speak with our children about over dinner. We want our children to understand the importance of standing up to hate and bigotry and, instead, spreading love and understanding."
This is an incredible statement. One that is incredibly poignant today as ever. I was stunned to receive this inquiry and how it connected to the prayer request around the first blue hydrangeas I ever did.
What does it look like to step into love? How do we stand up to hate and bigotry? How do we get along with our neighbor?
And what does all this have to do with hydrangeas? I often find the subject matter I'm drawn to (or a collector is drawn to) has a message that is relevant. And sure enough, Hydrangeas are sometimes seen as reminders of gratefulness for understanding. They are often offered at times when forgiveness is needed. They are also signs of deeper understanding growing between two people. Can we forgive our neighbor? Can we offer love and understanding in the face of its apparent absence?
I recently heard Rabbi Jonathan Sacks articulate in an interview with Krista Tippet on OnBeing: "God is setting us a big challenge, a really big challenge. We are living so close to difference with such powers of destruction that he's really giving us very little choice. To quote W.H. Auden, 'We must love one another or die.' That is I think where we are today. We really can love one another, I have a great deal of hope."
I lean into the wisdom of Rabbi Sacks, his confidence and hope. I lean into the beauty of these hydrangeas reminding us to be pursue understanding and be grateful for its presence. I lean into the possibility that one family's intention to stand up to hate and expand love and understanding can make a difference. I lean into the urgency of Auden's words 'love one another or die.' I lean into the quiet space of creativity and then put down my brush, take off my apron, and try to lean into these words in my life.
8" x 8" Spread Love & Understanding No. 1, No. 2 (SOLD)., No. 3, No. 4 (SOLD) (Numbering is clockwise, starting top left). Check out available pieces here.
[I could paint hydrangeas for a looooong time…talk to me if you’d like a custom piece for your home.]