Painter’s palette

I am not an artist. Sure, arranging live plants in a visually appealing way to accommodate all seasons is quite the artistic challenge, but what I mean is that I don’t draw or paint. It’s on my bucket list of things to take up when I have more time.

However, I do have a plant in my garden called Tovara Painter’s Palette.

Tovara is a variety of Persicaria. I’ve written about this fascinating plant family before; it encompasses a wide variety of plants, including “knotweed” and Mexican Bamboo.

This one is splashed with red and creamy white on the green leaves, hence its name.

Or are the green and red splashed on the white leaves? It’s probably a matter of perspective, just as the way we view things is “painted” by our attitudes and worldview.

We all have our challenges, joys, and trials in this life, but it is puzzling when we watch how different people deal with the lives they are living.

One person seems to have everything that could make them happy, but is miserable. Although we can’t always tell what hidden demons they are battling, many times it is a matter of their own perspective.

Then there are those who seem happy even though they are bombarded with some of the most outlandish challenges imaginable.

It’s all how we paint our lives, isn’t it? We color our outlook either for good or for evil. It’s like the “Is the glass half empty or half full?” conundrum, except that the way we paint our lives and circumstances is visible to others as well as to us.

Even in the most benign of circumstances, we often paint for ourselves a tale of woe and misery. An event or project didn’t turn out perfectly, so we dwell on the darker hues and fail to appreciate the bright areas. Some of us tend to allow our negativity to adversely color our present circumstances.

Often it is a pattern of failure or misfortune that traps us. We must be careful not to take the dark tones of the past and splash them across the canvas of today.

The scriptures give us wonderful examples of people who took dark and dismal circumstances and saw light, beauty, and — most of all — opportunity. One such account is that of two Christians in jail in Acts 16.

Paul and Silas weren’t sitting in that jail cell just mumbling and grumbling about the unfairness of life. They were singing! And it may very well have been that singing that prompted the jailer to ask them what he must do to be saved.

The jailer was then baptized for the remission of his sins after Paul persuaded him not to take his own life.

Don’t imagine for a moment that the cheerful way in which Paul and Silas painted their circumstances didn’t make an impression on the people observing them. The jailer was able to see a glimmer of light through the picture that was painted before his eyes in the example of Paul and Silas.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2 – 4, NASB).

From “trials” to “lacking in nothing” is a long stretch for many of us. What makes the journey shorter? When we “consider it all joy.”

Paint your life with joy!

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