I recently attended the Epcot International Festival of the Arts at Walt Disney World®, and went on the Spaceship Earth ride, which I haven’t experienced since my son was little. The ride began with a picture of a giant Mammoth and spoke of the beginning of history when things were wild and survival was all we could do, then immediately followed that thought with the fact that once we learned to communicate, we could learn to survive ‘together’. The ride documented the progression of communication throughout our history…wall carvings to papyrus to the Gutenberg press, telegraph, phone and computer, finishing with thoughts of how we will communicate in the future.
I thought of my painting “Gathering” as the ride moved around and up inside the famous Epcot sphere. I thought about the Word, the Logos, God’s Son and the power of the word throughout history because I found it fascinating that the theme of this most famous Theme Park ride, representing our Earth, is the word. Survival is predicated on doing it together, which requires learning to communicate. Most basically, we gather to communicate and survive together. However, when we are in “survival mode”, we are reacting in fight, flight or freeze, not communicating well, and unwittingly pushing others away. We can observe that in many family settings where dysfunction has not been addressed and continues to be the predominant force that destroys relationship. Reacting in survival mode is a world of difference from being aware of or admitting to others that we are in survival mode, with a willingness to learn to communicate in a healthy way that brings relationship and gathering instead of isolation. For many of us, that means re-learning how to communicate. And re-learning, I believe, requires a level of trust and security we may not have had growing up. But as adults, we are no longer toddlers, and certainly not woolly Mammoths. We are privileged to be made in the Creator’s image to be all we can be, and with His grace and empowerment, to do it in relationship, in “Gathering”.
Please join us next month as we take a look at the painting entitled “Engaging”.