Years ago a good friend was walking through our Illinois home after we’d completed some renovations and said, “Everything looks good, but the only art on your walls is pictures of your kids.”
I had to admit we’d probably overdone that. Every child was represented in every room, including bathrooms. I responded to him with humor, saying our children were our artwork, and Nate chimed in with a statement about how big the price tag was for such art.
But when we moved to Michigan, there were fewer rooms to decorate and far fewer walls. So I thought I’d show some restraint by not nailing up our children all over the place, deciding instead to give the seven of them one framed wall-picture apiece. Choosing the pictures was easy.
Because there will be no more photos taken with Nate, those we do have with him are precious, maybe even qualifying now as works of art. So I decided the seven kids’ pictures would all be father-and-child. The result is hanging in the hallway at the top of our steep, narrow stairway with a quote from the Bible’s love chapter written above them:
“Now abideth faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13)
Many times each day I walk past these seven hanging frames with their accompanying verses and sometimes stop to study them. I enjoy looking into Nate’s face and like the way he’s got his arms wrapped around each child in the pictures. It’s an effective way to re-appreciate everything he did for his family, and to be continuously thankful for him.
Linking it with a verse about love reminds me of Nate’s love for his children, which was unstoppable. I hope none of them ever doubt that, since they know he would have done anything for them to make their lives better (and often did).
A piece of mental artwork my mind treasures is the love Nate demonstrated toward his children on the day he received his diagnosis of metastasized pancreatic cancer. As he and I drove home from the doctor’s appointment that day, his first priority was to personally tell each of his children of his illness, one-on-one.
This was no small task for a man who’d just been clobbered with a death sentence, but he did it. He had to press through his own emotional pain seven times on seven phone calls in order to be present with each one during that difficult moment when they received the bad news. He had his arms around them as best he could.
And that’s true love.
Maybe the key to the most valuable artwork for any wall is the combination of people-pictures and scriptural words. God’s one-on-one love for all people is unstoppable, and he wants to be present during every traumatic moment of our lives if we’ll let him, to wrap “the greatest of these” loving arms around us.
As for the walls in the heavenly home he’s preparing for those who love him? I’ll bet every wall will be covered with us.
“How amazing are your thoughts concerning me, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” (Psalm 139:17-18)