"lent 2015 (2): self"
mixed media collage (tissue paper, wallpaper glue, acrylic paint, found letters, gel medium on stretched canvas)
gregory a. milinovich
"i am a wreck," says the impostor, the voice inside who sometimes whispers, but more often shouts his hateful half-truths through the hallways of my psyche and my soul. "i am a disaster. i'm a terrible father, a fraud of a pastor, and an overall failure as a human being."
"you are made in my image," replies the God of the Universe, the Creator of everything, and the Author of life. "i made you, and i call you good. No, scratch that: i call you very good."
"that sounds so nice," replies the impostor, with a profound cynicism disguised as intellectualism and maturity. "those ancient words would be so comforting if you could believe such nonsense, but the empirical proof is in the pathetic pudding. i mean, look at me. my head is tiny. and nearly rectangular. like the whole back of it has been lopped off. and don't even get me started of my hairline, and my cowlick. or what about my webbed toes? and if all of those are anomalies, then let's end the whole argument with the giant fleshy barrel around my torso. back fat. front fat. just fat. i'm a fat person who has never really been attractive. truth is, i'm ugly."
undaunted, God offers reassurance, "i knit you together in your mother's womb. you are fearfully and wonderfully made."
"really? you made this? what about my personality? i'm bossy and opinionated and self-absorbed and needy and painfully independent. surely you don't want to take credit for that."
"my child, you are my masterpiece. why can't you see that?"
"whatever. even if that was true, you can't believe what i've done with it. i mean, i guess you can, because nothing in the dark is really hidden from you, but no one else would believe it. if i was a masterpiece at one time, i have done a masterful job of destroying it from one end to the other. i have destroyed it beyond recognition, and it is unforgivable."
"and that's where you dead wrong," God says with a twinkle in those artist's eyes. "you see, i have seen your messes and mistakes, and i have judged that my love for you far outweighs all that pain and brokenness. there is no length that my love will not take me for you. none. not even death itself can keep you from my love. i love you with a reckless fury that you can't even imagine; with a relentless love which will never be quenched. you are mine. you are worth saving (i already did it), and you are beautiful. now get over yourself and get busy trying to share this good news with everyone you meet."
then, with the impostor finally quiet enough for me to know, even if just for the briefest instant, that i am God's beloved, i rejoice, like a puppy, like a prodigal son. i dance. i sing. i look in the mirror and know that the one i see there is worth saving, worth forgiving, worth loving. and so is each beautiful and unique and wonderful child of this Divine Love.