The Beauty of Individuality

Tree Series

Tree Series

 

I’ve always been fascinated with trees because, no matter how hard you try, you will never see 2 that are exactly alike.

Reminds me of the way God created His highest and best creation: the human being.

I’ve met thousands of people in my lifetime, and have never met 2 alike. My twin granddaughters could not be any different than they are, even though they were conceived and grew together. And so it is with the seemingly lowly tree.

My home backs up to common ground maintained by the Park Service, littered with many different types of trees. (I call the common ground my personal Hundred Acre Woods.) I couldn’t be happier than when I stand on my deck and absorb the beauty of their individuality. I love the fact that their ‘arms’ reach toward their source, and their roots run deep into their beginnings. And even though it appears that their branches intertwine, I now realize that they give each other space to grow.

I’ve been observing trees my entire life, especially during family road trips. I have studied them, hugged them, and talked to them, only to learn a lot from my deeply-rooted friends about relationships: I’ve learned how to allow others their space to grow and develop into what and who they’re supposed to be. This understanding has given me peace as much as it’s given me lessons to learn in my life. When my ‘branch’ breaks (due to no fault of my own), I know to let the new growth fill the void… perhaps not exactly like the old branch was, but allowing the void to be filled with the newness of life nonetheless. And this gives meaning to hope.

And so I salute my wooded friends, with their sometimes unsightly demeanor and rough exteriors. I allow them to grow into what (and who) they are supposed to be… because that’s just how it is.

Peace + blessings!

Rev. Lee… Exposed

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“This is a song about a very big, black, strong, sexy southern baptist minister,
who thinks that he’s got his program all together until he runs up against a lady
who shows him that he ain’t got it all together.His name is Rev. Doctor Lee…”

I grew up in the 70s, enjoying music and lyrics by everyone from Earth, Wind, and Fire to Janis Ian to Rufus featuring Chaka Khan. I was introduced to Roberta Flack by my parents, who were musical proponents and lovers of artists such as Miles Davis, Nancy Wilson, Sergio Mendes,  and Thelonius Monk. It did not take me long to attach my feelings to Roberta Flack, who was oh-so-natural in her artistic ability to express the vibe behind the words that she was given to sing.

I was introduced to “Rev. Lee” long before my experiences as a woman, and much longer than my ability to really know and understand the chemistry between a man and a woman. I was blessed to experience the meaning of marriage [as I knew it] between two loving adults, but my teenage understanding in the 70s (if that’s what you want to call it) was based on 2 working parents, dinner at 6 PM each night, and what I could order from the Sears catalog to decorate my home. I was not privy to the chemistry that exists between a man and a woman.

Chemistry goes far beyond lust, in that it is not just an innate attraction to someone based on their education, looks, and/or financial status.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, chemistry is “the complex emotional or psychological interaction between two people…” be it right or wrong, according to ethics or moral beliefs. I take it a step further and say that chemistry is undeniably tangible and difficult to understand… especially when it appears in life at the most obscene and inconvenient moment, which brings me beautifully back to Rev. Lee… a man chemically attracted to a woman outside of his belief structure.

Referring to his vexation as “ole Satan’s daughter,” he wrestled with his beliefs as a man of God and a messenger of the Almighty, based on the Holy Bible or his personal beliefs. But Rev. Lee could have wrestled with more than just a chemical attraction: the words point to any and every thing that a man struggles with on a daily basis, from addiction to needs to wants, and everything in between. “The Prayer of Rev. Lee” (my painting) depicts a man humbled to bring him to his knees and wanting to reattached himself to his Source of strength and supply.

Visit my website at: http://www.stefanivance.com.

This illustration pays homage to a song originally written by Gene McDaniel,
and made famous by Roberta Flack in the early 1970s.