Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Good Shepherd Revisited

"The Good Shepherd with a Ewe, Ram and Ewe Lamb",
drawing by 
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Inspired by a picture of a stained glass window I came across on the Internet, I decided to do another drawing/icon of The Good Shepherd.  The actual stained glass image had about six sheep around the feet of the Shepherd; however, I felt that would make the scene too crowded for the space within which I had to work. Thus, I only included a ewe lamb, a ewe and a ram.

After posting the image here, I have now decided that I will revise the image by adding the title "Good Shepherd" in Greek.  Although this drawing is not an icon -- in the sense that iconographers use the word -- I feel I could justify treating it as one.  Therefore, the Greek title would not be inappropriate.

As I have mentioned in the past when posting other images of the Good Shepherd, this type of image was one of the earliest artistic depictions of Christ by a Christian artist of which we have any record.  I do not find this surprising at all since the passages in the New Testament in which Our Lord uses the image of the Good Shepherd are some of the most appealing and comforting -- at least they have always been for me.

Remember, sheep, on their own, make foolish choices, are easily frightened, quickly confused and very stubborn.  This sounds quite a bit like a description of me!  Perhaps you may recognize something of yourself in these descriptive terms as well.  

At any rate, I am fully aware that every time in my life when I have wandered away from the Good Shepherd, thinking I knew best, I have always ended up in some terrible state from which I desperately needed rescuing.  Thanks be to God, He has never failed to find me in the nick of time, often pulling me back with His shepherd's crook just before I fell over the precipice into the darkness below.  I pray that He will never give up on me or on any of His sheep.



Suki studying up on strategies for getting fed more frequently!
On Facebook this past week, I came across a photo which was taken from a video and showed a ginger and white tabby appearing to read a copy of The Art of Military Strategy.  It gave me a good laugh at the time.

Later, while thinking about how cleverly the photographer had captured an aspect of the nature of Cat, I decided it would be fun to do a drawing of Suki based on the photo -- and so you have the drawing above.

Speaking of the cat with whom I share my home, I feel it is time for me to mention a serious issue that I have been struggling with over these past few months -- what to do about Suki?

As my health issues have gotten worse, it has become more and more difficult for me to take care of Suki.  Each day now as I struggle to clean her sand box, for example, I find that I often have to rest several times during the process as the effort leaves me so tired and winded.  After I finally finish and sit down to rest -- trying to recover some measure of strength -- I find myself wondering just how much longer I will be able to continue doing this.

The idea of having to try to find a new home for Suki fills me with distress, but I can't help but think how much better it would be to try to find a new home for Suki now while I am still able to take care of her basic needs.  If the day should come where I can no longer care for her, then I might not have any choice except to give her back to the Humane Society!  At least this way I would be able to seek out a good home for my dear friend without having to act in haste.

So, I am putting the idea out there and hoping that those followers and readers of this blog who live in my part of the world will be on the lookout for a possible new home for Miss Suki. 

Of course, the very thought of having to stop sharing my life with Suki makes me feel even less well -- so if you were to ask me how I am feeling at this moment, I would have to say "rather poorly"!

I did have several medical appointments this past week, but they were just follow-up types and resulted in no new information -- just renewed prescriptions.  Meanwhile, my situation continues to be much the same with the usual complaints:  the pain level remains high, the sleep problems seem to be increasing and the pills I was given to help my stomach don't seem to be doing anything at all! As most of you are aware, so much of medical "science" seems to be guesswork whenever it comes to managing the health of seniors who have multiple, often quite serious, medical issues all at the same time.

Thankfully, this coming week does not include any doctors appointments at all.  The week after, however, includes an appointment at Sunnybrook Hospital with a specialist in sleep disorders plus a visit to the ophthalmologist for a new and increasingly uncomfortable eye problem!  Who would have guessed that a new problem might occur?!

However, let me finish today's posting by looking ahead to a couple of joyful events:  St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, March 17th, and the Feast of St. Joseph on Wednesday, the 19th.  Following are my favourite icons of each.

"St. Patrick of Ireland", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
This icon was done originally as a gift to my godson, Patrick. The writing on the right-hand side is Gaelic and can be translated more or less directly as St. Patrick of Ireland.

If you have never read a biographical account of the life of St. Patrick, I would highly recommend that you do so.  His life, especially his boyhood years spent as a slave in Ireland, make the story of "12 Years a Slave" pale by comparison.  In the process, St. Patrick became a saint and led Ireland out of its rather barbaric paganism and into the beauty of Catholicism.

"St. Joseph the Carpenter with Jesus",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

This "icon" of St. Joseph and the Child, Jesus", was done in 2013 and, I say with embarrassment, never even completely finished! As you can see, I failed to put on the title or the names in Greek and English as I always do.  It does remain a favourite of mine in spite of that, however.

This drawing is another of the more recent drawings of the saints which are, to some extent, more "picture" and less "icon". 

As you may recall, there were several comments from viewers back at the end of 2012 which seemed to imply that they were getting tired of seeing my drawings of mostly icons.  So, beginning in 2013, I made a point of trying to do more western-style art work rather than continuing to develop my icon-drawing skills.

At any rate, these images are simply reminders of the wonderful lives these two men led in discerning the Will of God for their lives and following Christ to the best of their ability.  This is, of course, what makes them saints -- an option open to us all as well -- something to reflect on as we continue moving through this Lenten Season.

So, let me end by asking St. Patrick and St. Joseph to pray for us all in the week again -- asking that we may accept the graces God constantly pours out upon us so that we, too, may one day be saints. May the peace of God be with us all.  Amen.

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