You can buy the original or a fine art print of this image here.
I spent all weekend working on this piece that I call “Home?” I’m calling her Sophia. Notice a few things: there are no footprints in the snow leading to where she is standing. She is leaving the house far below. Is she turning to look one more time, or is she thinking of going back? We can faintly see someone standing in front of her home. She has left at night. She has left some behind.
All these suggest that she left the comfort and security of her home in the dead of night so as not to be prevented. She is determined to venture out, initiate her own quest, and find her own path.
She might return one day, but only when she is certain she won’t lose herself again.
Are you in a moment of decision? Is there some comfort and security you’ve been enjoying that you know, deep down, is preventing you from discovery? Understand that those who provide the comfort and security we enjoy usually aren’t just trying to enslave us. They are afraid of our ventures and the harm these ventures might bring us. They care. But their care has turned into fear. They will never go themselves. But they will never let you go either. You have to tear yourself away. You know this.
I like what Wendell Berry has to say in his provocative collection of essays, The Unsettling of America (I’ve changed “he” to “she” for consistency):
The pattern of orthodoxy in religion, because it is well known, gives us a useful paradigm. The encrusted religious structure is not changed by its institutional dependent; they are part of the crust. It is changed by one who goes alone to the wilderness, where she fasts and prays, and returns with cleansed vision. In going alone, she goes independent of institutions, forswearing orthodoxy (i.e. right opinion). In going to the wilderness she goes to the margin, where she is surrounded by the possibilities… by no means all good… that orthodoxy has excluded. By fasting she disengages her thoughts from the immediate issues of livelihood; her willing hunger takes her mind off the payroll, so to speak. And by praying she acknowledges ignorance; the orthodox presume to know, whereas the marginal person is trying to find out. She returns to the community not necessarily with new truth, but with a new vision of the truth she sees more whole than before.
What are you going to do? This young woman, like many young women and men I know, has dared to break away from the pack. She had to. Or she would never forgive herself.