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Happily, I discovered one of many expressions of Vincent van Gogh’s angst shared in a letter with his brother Theo, his sole confidante:

“There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by only see a wisp of smoke through the chimney, and go along their way. Look here, now, what must be done? Must one tend the inner fire, have salt in oneself, wait patiently yet with how much impatience for the hour when somebody will come and sit down near it—maybe to stay? Let him who believes in God wait for the hour that will come sooner or later.”  Letter # 155 from The Letters of Vincent van Gogh (1873 – 1890).

The great fire in our soul references the presence of the Sacred that van Gogh experienced in prayer and its extension in oils on canvases and other mediums. He knew the inner fire and the salt in oneself, both biblical images,that fueled his passion to explore the untried; but the impermanence of this state provoked impatience, and this letter seemed to have emanated from one of his dry spells. Still, van Gogh painted, subjects that caught his imagination, whether indoors or outdoors, at times, striking his passion into flame.

The oil-on-canvas, Plain Near Auvers (1890 – the year of his death) attracted my attention. Variants of greens, blues, yellows, and whites caught the dynamism of a peasant’s fields, with crows flitting among grasses in the foreground. The uncertainty of the sky escalates the drama: the Sacred surprises as in our lives. Note in the right-hand corner the addition of three red roses in the grasses.

Vincent van Gogh’s willingness to participate in the Creator’s plan, with broad brushstrokes and heavy pigments, challenges me to deepen my gift of writing in the time allotted me.  

I’m a ripe peach—waiting to drop.

Another summer treat is the “Black Splendor” plum with bluish-black fruit and juicy beet-red flesh. Biting into its sweet tartness quickens the taste buds and sets them yearning for more. Other stone-centered fresh fruits have this similar reaction: the merging of two opposites, completely disimilar, yet one.

Would that the diverse peoples of the globe could assume this attitude toward one another. Such would displace rancor festering among the human family, restore the fulness of personhood, and reduce acts of violence. Life would have an untold richness, a prototype for Creator God’s desire for all the living.

This can happen, once awakened to the Sacred Law informing our Inwardness. The invisible shines forth in the midst of the visible. Deep joy spins swirls of togetherness as multi-colored oneness blossoms among the human family, like none other.

How deeply I would have liked to have known this truth when a younger woman. At least, I can practice in the time still allotted me.  

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