How to repair the torn canvas of your life

Restored Canvas

I regularly meet with a 90-year-old retired Baptist minister. After a lifetime of being the pastor of a church in the heart of a tightly-knit Southern community, he’s got some stories to tell. On one visit, he shared with me a beautiful image of the cross and its power to mend the fabric of our lives.

There was a teenage boy he knew quite well (and 50 years later, he still remains in touch). The boy painted a picture with acrylics. It was a little pastoral scene with rolling hills and a meandering path. He showed it to his mom, proud of his creation and eager to reveal his newfound talent. His mom examined the picture and offered nothing but critique – harsh comments like the colors could have been brighter, the hills lack perspective, and the path is going nowhere. The teen was devastated. The person he wanted to impress the most delivered a crushing blow to his self-esteem when he was quite vulnerable.

Furious at the rejection he felt, the angry teen took the painting back to his room and punched his fist through the middle of the canvas. He tossed it in the back of his closet. He never wanted to see it again. 

The boy ultimately went off to college and then seminary. Years later returned home. Rummaging through his closet, he saw the painting with the torn canvas. A different man now, he decided to patch the rip. As he did so, he hoped it might heal some other wounds from his past. He did his best with some tape and glue, but there was still a visible sign of the tear.  

Not willing to let the anger oozing from this painting define his life, he pulled out his paints again. He darkened half of the sky and painted a lightning bolt from the newly created storm clouds.  The lightning bolt perfectly covered the tear. To complete the healing, he added three crosses on the top of one of the hills.  (See photo)

The man transformed an image of brokenness into an image of Calvary on Good Friday.  It’s the place where the canvas of all lives are restored.

Spend a few minutes gazing at the image during this Holy Week. Think about your shattered hopes and painful rejections. How might the redeeming grace of the cross mend these tears in the fabric of your life?