I love it when my home is clean (well- pretty clean), laundry is done, counters clean (for about 5 min until one of us wants a snack), work is over for the day, and I can just veg out on my computer (which is not always a good thing). Pictures tend to cover my walls. Fine art work that I have collected – family pictures that I love to look at – and old pictures that probably have no meaning to anyone but me. My big brother says my walls are too busy and drive him crazy, but isn’t that what little sisters do to their big brothers? =P
One picture in particular hangs in my kitchen. I look at it several times every day. Sometimes, I hardly glance at it and at other times – I just stand and stare at it – filled with wonder. It is a picture that hung in my Grandma Mac’s house. I can still see it hanging in the dark corner of her dining room/sitting room. It’s funny; I don’t remember ever finding Grandma Mac sitting in her living room. If she wasn’t in the kitchen or garden, she was sitting in her rocking chair in that dining room area. Maybe it is because I often sat down and looked at the walls while we talked or maybe it was just the content of the picture that intrigued me. Whatever – it still catches me, holds my eyes, and makes me wonder.
Sometime – when I was off finding myself in college, that picture came to my parents’ home. The picture hung in different spots, but predominately in the kitchen or dining room. There’s nothing special about the picture. It is in an old, semi-busted frame. It is not a numbered print, but one of those prints done in multiples (times a 1000) during the early 1900’s. If you look it up in Wikipedia, they will give you all sorts of artistic commentary on Jean-François Millet and his 1857 painting. But for me, The Gleaners is none of those things.
I think that is what makes art great. Even before I knew what gleaning was, I knew what I loved about that picture. Strong women – different and yet similar – willing to do whatever it takes – working together, picking tiny things… When I was little, I wondered why there were others way off in the distance – and why they were all painted in muted shades of whites and grays. As I grew older and learned what gleaning referred to historically and Biblically, I tended to imagine that it was Grandma Mac, mom, myself…and…
You may be wondering what this has to do with my Lenten Journey at this point…or not, but just in case you are – here it is: Rabbi Jesus is also a gleaner. You might not be able to see Him, but He is there. Strong, willing to do whatever it takes, and bending down to pick up those souls that others thought were worthless. Somewhere – deep inside of me – that has always been my thought when I look at that picture. And tonight – when I turn off the kitchen lights before I say my prayers – I will see Him there … bending over to pick me up – pick you up – and all the other souls that the world has passed over. That was the plan all along.