“There’s a wisdom to be had when we hang with Jesus between two opposing sides,” I write in my Living School note book in October 2013.
Richard Rohr is talking about St. Bonaventure. The topic is non-dual consciousness.
I draw the sign of the cross on the page —
“Hang with Jesus,” Richard says — again.
Two opposing sides. Black and white. Good and bad.
Everything in the universe is composed of both sides, Bonaventure teaches, and we are invited to hold both in pure optimism — to hold this tension of opposites until it resolves itself within us.
And this is the point of inspiration for my painting of the heart of St. Bonaventure in my heart murmurations collection.
The horizontal tension — one side light and the other dark — is the first intention of the piece. The heart is placed between the two sides, balanced in a dance-like posture that bows gently to the earth. This heart is grounded and humble with a lightness that suggests optimism.
The background carries another message that takes awhile to emerge. It is blended in a way to convey reconciliation — which is the one word I give to this initial dialogue with the heart of St. Bonaventure.
And, not surprising, Richard’s words guide my understanding of this word, the way I painted it, and how it supports St. Bonaventure’s invitation to hold differences rather than choose a side.
“Union is not uniformity, it is the reconciliation of differences.”
This kind of union is far more beautiful than anything I imagine or will ever paint — to live it, God willing, is my request.