Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Last week I was on a roll. So excited to have finished a month of painting each day, so excited to be painting portraits in February because they were going really well. I was excited for snow and using my 4-wheel drive. Thankful for my blessings.
In fact, when my bible app verse came up on February 3rd, and it was "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted", it just felt strangely out of place. I was not in that headspace- and was enjoying it. I FELT blessed! But saying that we are blessed when we mourn or in difficult circumstances and feeling hopeless, hit me as something I needed to process, and I prayed for those who were feeling pain when I was feeling so joyful and hopeful at the moment. I like feeling "blessed". I'm not sure I have felt "blessed" in the circumstances these verses speak of.
That night, after a kind of perfect day, we let our dogs out for the last time before bed - an after-thought in case they needed to go quickly because there was a snowstorm, and it was freezing. Within 30 seconds of letting them out, my favorite pup, my companion and little shadow, Scout, was attacked and fatally injured by our elderly neighbor's dog who had pulled away from her and was in our yard. We had never even seen the dog before, other than in it's fenced back yard. I wrapped my beloved baby pup up and we drove through the storm, singing our "Scout " song, one Gary sang to her every day - to an emergency animal clinic 15 minutes away.
We drove back that night in shock without the little incredible spark of life that had given us pure joy, love and happiness every single day for 7 years. That February day 7 years ago, my daughter and I had walked into a pet store to buy crickets for our gecko, Gus, saw the cutest puppy we had ever seen- the runt of a littler of rescue puppies- and picked her up. This tiny creature laid her head on my shoulder and stayed there. I never put her down. It was very clear, she was OUR DOG. It was not a choice, she was one of us. We bought her and brought her home.
I have been in mourning for this incredible little bundle of blessings that we have loved and treasured for 7 years. She gave each of us in the family exactly what we needed. She just knew. She was my studio companion and walking companion and get up to greet the day sunshine girl. I miss her with my whole heart, everything about her. And God is faithful, and I am finding a little more comfort and crying a little less most days. I see signs of her everywhere. I'm thankful for the gift of her, I just expected her to be here so much longer.
This portrait was started in joy- chosen for the light and shadows in the face. It was finished in deep grief, I think what came through this portrait in the end- not consciously- was our human vulnerability, which we all share in this life. It was one of my Scout's final gifts to me.
This portrait is a prayer that you are blessed today in whatever place you find yourself in. We are all connected through pain and joy and suffering in this life, and God promises us we are blessed in the worst of times and that he will give us hope and comfort and his presence in all circumstances. I hope that we all remember this, and feel His love today.