I have a vivid memory of my early childhood. Before the age of five, my memories include sliding down steps on a cardboard box, sneaking onto my Dad’s Macintosh computer to drag files to the trash for fun, waving at a hang glider flying over my backyard, getting stuck upside down in one of those floaty rings in the pool, picking raspberries with my Mum from bushes on the side of a road, and being framed for stealing cupcakes from the kitchen by the older kids at church.
This list of snapshots from my early childhood goes on and on. Remembering something is like having light and colour fill my mind. Memories are emotional. And sometimes I can extract stories and meaning from my memories if I’m lucky. But as time goes by my memories lose clarity and that brings feelings of shame and sadness. Have I forgotten more than I remember? And is my impression of the past accurate?
Recently I visited The Zone Gallery in Maleny where Richard and Catherine Muldoon, parents at GCC, hosted their most recent art exhibition. The gallery displayed pieces from several accomplished local artists. But the painting that captured my interest was one of Richard’s called Blurscape. It looked the way I experience a memory. And to Richard’s credit, that’s exactly what he hoped to convey—not only in this piece but in several of his other works.
Like a memory, much detail is concealed in this landscape piece. I see the mountains, the trees, and the posts of a fence. But some shapes remain ambiguous by blur or shadow. It’s the lack of clarity that causes me to linger with it longer.
Often truth is extracted with great difficulty. Our memories are faulty and we cannot depend on our own experiences as a way to accurately view the world we live in.
Apostle Paul says the Christian life is like looking into a dim mirror (1 Corinthians 13:12). The mirrors of Paul’s time were not the perfect reflections we take for granted today. Often mirrors were polished metal, polished rock, or merely the reflection from a bowl of water. Paul contrasts the experience of seeing a dim reflection against the experience of seeing someone face to face. For the present time, we can only perceive vague details. But when Christ gathers us to him, we will see with perfect clarity.
As a Christian, I believe by looking at the world through the lens of God’s Word, I have begun to perceive the truth about the world I live in—even if I don’t have all the details yet. We remember the past poorly and we cannot predict the future, which makes the present a disorienting place to exist if not for the Word of God. His Word reveals what God has done in the past and what He promises for the future. Living by faith in the present according to those promises saves me from the alternative of total darkness. I’m grateful my life has vision, direction, and purpose. Jesus is the light of life and apart from Him, we see nothing (John 8:12).
The experience of having your eyes opened by God is like that of the blind man in Mark 8:22-26. Jesus performs a perplexing miracle when he spits in the blind man’s eyes and places hands on him asking, ‘Do you see anything?’ The man responds, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’ Then for a second time, Jesus places his hands on the man, and his vision is fully restored.
By seeking Jesus like the blind man we are letting light into our vision. In time he will perfect our vision. Until then we live by faith according to the light he has given us to see by. And by remembering the Word of God, our vision is renewed day by day.
As a Christian, there are some questions that I am comfortable not having an answer to. I enjoy the mysteries in light of the hope that I will see Jesus face-to-face.
For me, Richard Muldoon’s Blurscape became a contemplative reflection of life’s enigmatic moments. Much like the concealed landscape in his painting, my memories flicker between clarity and obscurity. Yet through faith, I’ve grasped a truth that transcends my fragmented memory of the past and the uncertain future. Like the blind man healed by Jesus, my spiritual vision unfolds gradually, with each day bringing new insights as revealed by God’s Word. I embrace the mysteries and hold firm to the hope of seeing Jesus face-to-face—a promise that eclipses any anxiety about unanswered questions or fading memories.
If you’re interested in Muldoon’s work you can visit their websites.
Nathan Wilson, Primary College Pastor