One of the best and worst things about air travel is being trapped in a seat for several hours. I often accomplish more in the time in those cramped quarters than I do at home in a whole day. On a flight back home on the first Sunday of Advent I started to doodle just for fun in my 8″x10″ travel sketch pad. Then the refrain from Psalm 80 in the morning’s worship service came back to me. “Restore us, O God of hosts: show us the light of your countenance and we shall be saved.” The congregation repeated this Advent plea three different times.
From that passage the word RESTORE jumped out at me. I wrote RESTORE in the middle of my doodling page and started brainstorming and writing everything I could think of about the word. After I had exhausted all my words, I doodled around it. I tried to listen to what the word might have to say to me. What did I have to learn from the word? What did God want me to hear from it?
Two other flights followed during the first week of Advent. On both of those flights I pulled out the sketch pad with the word RESTORE on it and continued to brainstorm, then listen. If Scripture is living word, then what I hear from the word and what God might have to say to me about the word can be new each day. Below are the drawing and some reflections on the word RESTORE. Did God tell me these things? I don’t know, probably not. But I like to think this partnership with God, of me actively thinking and writing then actively listening, is an inspired time of pondering and prayer.
- On day 2, I added the orange color and my marker leaked blobs of orange onto the word. I realized I could not RESTORE the drawing to its original condition. It occurred to me that RESTORATION does not necessarily mean replicating the past. Erasing errors is not always possible (and maybe not desirable.)
- RESTORE can be a problematic word. It assumes there was a time when everything was perfect or so much better–which could be just a fantasy of my nostalgic mind.
- Sometimes RESTORING a relationship with a person means being receptive to a whole new paradigm for the way we relate and behave together.
- RESTORING a right relationship with God might mean giving up an old, comfortable understanding of God and listening to a more mature, more awesome understanding than I had before.
- When God RESTORES me, I imagine myself as a piece of old furniture. God brings out the hidden good qualities and the natural beauty God sees and incorporates the damage, distress, and dings of my life into a new creation.