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One of my favorite biblical images is hiding under the shelter of his wings, and rising on wings as of eagles.
I thought I was finished drawing Sophia. I already have around 55 images. But this image popped into my head last week and she demanded to be drawn to fill out her story a little more. You can see all of them in one place here. I began drawing Sophia right after I left the ministry in the spring of 2010. The deconstruction and readjustment process was long, lonely and confusing. In a word, brutal. Drawing Sophia was a kind of therapy for me. She was my soul’s articulation of what it was experiencing. She begins trapped, she makes her escape, and then she spends the rest of her time facing her fears, wrestling with her inner angels and demons, getting used to the taste of solitude, and learning how to live independently.
This one, “Hide”, speaks about her determination to hide from those who seek her. She sees the search party far below. And her protector sees them too. But Sophia has learned something important and necessary to her independence: sometimes you have to hide. You have that right. You have the right to hide.
Please listen to me. I’ve been through this. Often, not always but often, your family and friends mean well. The #1 concern of those who love us is for our safety. They want us to be and stay safe. So when we wander off into dangerous territory, including spiritually, they’re going to freak out. Promise! The only way you’re going to survive this period of time is by hiding.
So, why hide?
- You don’t want to be pigeon-holed and labelled… again.
- You just need time away from the voices of “reason”.
- You have to figure out how to just be, apart from the concerned attempts of others to define you.
- You are neither here nor there, and that’s okay, whereas most people can’t handle this in-between space.
- You need a spiritual retreat of sorts, and silence is usually one of the crucial elements of spiritual retreats.
- You need to escape the hands of your searchers because they’re going to just take you back and you need to go forward.
- You need a revelation to come to you directly and not filtered through another person.
- You can just do it for them and save them the agony of watching you wrestle with your own inner demons and angels.
- You can claim your hiding place as your own personal turf that no one else has rights on. Create your own space where only you can dwell.
- You need to relax. Reject nothing. Nothing’s wasted. Just hide in silence, in obscurity, sure, and you will come out of hiding renewed.
In many ways I followed this advice I’m giving. But I let people watch me process my deconstruction, my readjustment, my confusion. I don’t recommend it. I lost many friends. When you are confused and open your mouth confusion will come out. In many ways I hid. But in many ways I betrayed my hiding place. I felt I needed to because I knew I was drawing a kind of map for others to find their own territory, their own spiritual independence.