Thursday, December 22, 2022

Art Inspiration: Climbing Up Jacob's Ladder


Hello My Fellow Art Lovers- 

"All the people of the earth will be blessed through you." 
- Genesis 28, The Story of Jacob's Dream

 If Jacob Climbed the Ladder 
A few weeks ago I noticed that a young man and woman had created a homeless encampment under a bridge near my house.  I asked them to please be careful because water often floods the spot.  The man said that they would just be there temporarily.  The place they had been staying before had bad people who they didn't want to be around anymore.  "Some people are just terrible," he said.  I said, "alright," and he said, "Bless you," several times.  Later that day I created a map to the local shelters and gave it to them with some granola bars.  

They were there off and on for a couple of weeks.  Then one morning a bunch of cop cars showed up.  The young man was found dead.  I watched them drag his body up out of the ravine in a body bag.  It was strange and horrible that his body sat on the sidewalk for a few minutes on the same spot where I had spoken to him.

He has now been identified as an eighteen year old runaway named Braxton McGuire. I didn't realize he was so young.  His family came to visit the bridge after the horrible task of identifying his body. They had been looking for him since March visiting homeless encampments all around the city.  Several times they found people who had recently seen him.  Apparently drugs contributed to his demise.  This has opened my eyes to exactly how evil drug addiction can be.

Could he have climbed up the ravine and asked for help?  Like the story from Genesis of Jacob dreaming of the stairway to heaven, could he have climbed up out of the darkness but chose not to ascend?

One of the pillows at the young man's encampment reads, "All roads lead home for the holidays."  I believe that it is a sad reminder of how gathering with loved ones can help support us in this darkest time of year.  I met his family and I'm sure they would have welcomed him back with open arms.

 Jacob's Ladder

If any of you my friends are ever at a low spot, I hope you know that I would love to lend you a helping hand.  I created this piece, Jacob's Ladder, for the Religion, Spirituality and the Arts class where we have studied the Jacob's Dream story this year.  When asked to imagine what an angel climbing the ladder would look like I decided that it would take the form of hands that are there to help lift someone up.  Having gone through this experience with Braxton I now see my own paintings in a different way. I wish I had helped him more. I hope it inspires you to climb up and ask for help if you need it. And to give as much help as you possibly can.

May we all lift each other up this coming year.

May we each choose to climb up out of the darkness toward the light.

And may Braxton rest in peace.  Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

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