It has felt like a rough week. Orthodox Lent began on Sunday night, a night when I was sitting in an immigration line that stretched to the airplane gate at Logan International Airport. The week did not get easier. Family sickness that led to urgent care visits and intravenous fluids, jet lag exhaustion, multiple priorities at work, and adhering to a strict first week fast had me face to face with my human frailty and my anger. I didn’t like what I saw. This morning I woke to news that a suicide bomb went off in a busy street in Istanbul. A street where my brother and sister-in-law walk many times a week for church and jobs, where Turks gather by tens of thousands every week. I am acutely aware of a world broken and my own part in that world.
Over a month ago I received a coloring book from Doorlight Publications. Would I be willing to take a look and review the book? I had sort of kept up with the “adult coloring book” trend, and I love coloring so I said yes — I would be glad to.
The book arrived late afternoon one day and I began flipping through it. I was taken aback by how beautiful the drawings were. Each one is a hand drawn masterpiece. The artist, Lorien Atwood, grew up in Pakistan and the Middle East, and the designs are clearly inspired by these parts of the world that I love. They are a rich ensemble of lines and circles that flow into gorgeous designs. But this coloring book is different – because in the middle of each drawing is a verse taken from the Bible. Each drawing expertly symbolizes the verse and the result is remarkable. As you color, you find yourself meditating on the words before you and truth soaks into and awakens your soul.
As I looked at each drawing, and thought of the hours of work of this artist, an artist who loves God and uses her God-given gift to create, the words of Madeleine L’Engle came to mind:
“God is constantly creating, in us, through us, with us, and to co-create with God is our human calling. It is the calling for all of us, his creatures, but it is perhaps more conscious with the artist–or should I say the Christian artist?”
Setting out my colored pencils, I picked my colors and began to add to what Lorien started for me. I had no real plan, just the pencils and the art in front of me. Before long, the picture began to sing through the black and white. Colors and words flowed together and I found myself relaxing, meditating, and thinking of how, when we give it a chance, truth changes us.
I think about this now, as I remember the week before. Truth changes us. But sometimes we have to sit still long enough to let it happen.
Blogger’s Note: I am not one to quickly buy into trends, but this book is no trend. It is a beautiful, reflective work of art created specifically to use as meditation and encouragement. I will be giving away two of these books at Communicating Across Boundaries through Western Holy Week. If you want to be considered, please leave a comment here. I look forward to sharing these with you! They are remarkable.
If you are interested in purchasing a book and don’t want to wait for the giveaway, the books are for sale at Coloring in Truth USA.
Read an interview with Lorien here!