Even in old age I will carry you
While staying at Heartzer Park for our annual church ladies retreat, I came across an old rusty milk pail next to the stump of a once large old tree. The pail was empty, discarded, rusty, forgotten and unwanted. It sprang thoughts in me of failure, of all the waste places and products of our changing technology, consumer habits and stage of life. I photographed it. I thought about the New Testament imagery of "Milk" as the first spiritual food and of people who "carry" this food. I thought of old age and the effects it would have on my own body already damaged by 5 car accidents. I felt like a rusty old milk pail.
That evening we were asked to bring something to share with the rest of the ladies, something that reflected something about ourselves. I thought of the rusty milk pail and wasn't sure that I wanted to be honest and share how I was feeling about myself, but I did. Later the Holy Spirit reminded me of a bible verse, an ancient promise of God spoken by the prophet Isaiah, "Even in old age I will carry you."
Some weeks later I took the photos and made an art work. I let the tree stump, a symbol of Jesus, carry the pails. I created 7 (perfection) visible branch like milky wind waves flowing into and around the pails, which become 3 almost invisible beams passing through and under the pails as symbols for the Trinity represented in the Holy Spirit. The pails are being carried into the cloud and sun, towards the eternity ahead even though they hold the scars of various forms of failure. Like the prince in a manger, treasure in clay pots, the Word of God in a woman, the Imortal Holy Spirit of God makes even the rustiess of mortal vessels bearable.
I hung the art work on my wall and it has been a helpful tool in reminding me of God's promises to care for me, to be there for me.
I can echo the testimony of an ancient writer: "Though my heart and flesh fail, God is the rock of my heart" (Psalm 73:26). Our fallibility is often painful to us. We bear the ravages of the failure that begun in our DNA at conception, but there is no failure that can put us beyond the redemptive power and care of God. There is a time coming when even mortality will fail, failure will fail and we will be set free in the new order of things, wearing the immortal "clothing" of God.
"Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to
your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry
you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you"(New
American Standard Bible (©1995)).