Encountering Stillness: The Power of Painting a Bench

My best friend called me up one day and we talked about my growing Art business, and she challenged me to think outside of the box of hanging wall art. “I have an idea,” she said. “I was thinking the other day that I wanted you to paint me a Prayer Bench.”

My initial thoughts were: What the heck is a prayer bench? Do I need special paint for that? How’s that supposed to happen? But all I could say was, Okay. I’ll try it.

If you know me, you’d know that I am a chronic over-thinker who can easily think her way out of trying anything different than what I have plotted out in my head. This is one of the primary reasons I show up at the canvas daily – it gets me out of my head and into my heart. Less control. It’s better for everyone when I operate on this level.

The bench, "before" shot. 

The bench, "before" shot. 

 

BUT, the amazingly ironic and supernatural thing was that literally the VERY NEXT DAY my friend called to tell me she was on her way to pick up an old park bench…from someone in her neighborhood who was giving it away for free. Free! Can you even stand it?

So, I committed to showing up at her house and painting the bench on a Sunday. It was a warm, sunny day and so I painted outside. Her husband, a master of woodwork and carpentry sanded and replaced a few of the planks. They set up a table for me outside complete with tiki torches surrounded by breathtaking trees.

Have I mentioned to you that her backyard happens to be a field of splendor and peace?  This particular Sunday seemed to have a sort of majestic serenity that definitely washed over me as I painted. I listened to some of my favorite inspirational tunes, enjoyed the gentle breezes of the wind, and listened as birds nearby chirped happily. There was something powerful happening as I witnessed this bench transform: STILLNESS. Every time I laid a coat of paint down I could feel a spark of energy, like giving life to something; like planting seeds, watering it and watching it blossom before you.

I have to say I lost track of time, space and surroundings. It was as if I had been given a one on one appointment with God in the space he dwells in; not like any space I could offer up. It was a quiet invitation to go within; a pause. It’s hard to accurately describe in words, and yet I’m not even sure it’s important for me to communicate my encounter. It was for me. And yet, I’m fully aware that this still moment alone will magnify in power and presence. I believe  we could all use a tranquil place to sit, to be still, and know.

As all the colors came together and started to harmonize, it was time to put the words and designs on the bench. I’d sketched a few ideas the day before, but caught up in the enchantment of the moment, none of that mattered anymore. The first phrase that came to me was “Be still and know that I am God”. I also heard the word “Encounter” and knew that was the best way to sum up the entire experience not just for me, but for everyone who will come to sit on the bench. It became very simple: Just be still, and know; and encounter a sweet, holy, spirit. The process was done. I was wildly rejuvenated and inspired.

Prayer Bench and a painting I did earlier this year.

Prayer Bench and a painting I did earlier this year.

 

My friends and I brought the bench inside, marveled at it and talked about what had transpired. Overcome with a sweetness that in my Faith is described as the ‘fullness of joy’, we dreamed up all the many places a Prayer Bench could be useful: Schools, Churches, Domestic Violence shelters, Parks, Prisons, Police Stations, etc.

 

I feel extremely blessed to have been a part of this tiny miracle. I believe this could be of huge impact to the world in its current state. Everyone needs a space to just be still, and encounter their Creator. I’ve decided to make this a part of my business, and offer Commissions. Do you need a Prayer Bench in your life? Email me @verse@mysoulrevival.com. 

 

Summer, the guard dog. Guarding the Gates of Splendor as per usual.

Summer, the guard dog. Guarding the Gates of Splendor as per usual.