This painting is one I purchased a few days after leaving the monastery. It was hanging in a small Vietnamese art gallery and something about the realism of the monk and the surrealism of the bird caught my eye. It seemed to ring a bell inside me. I went back day after day to look at the painting and began to see other resonances. The red and blue of the Episcopal colors struck me. The dove as Holy Spirit and as an extension of the sky and wind struck me. The mystical quality; questioning, wondering, remembering, considering, longing of the boy-monk’s expression struck me. The inner child I carry around with me seemed to have a short laugh with my inner monk when I saw the picture which hangs over my fireplace.
The best thing about this image however, is the way the light streams in from the left side, just past the bird and in the near direct vision of the monk. In Christian iconography (which this is not) light always emerges from wherever Jesus is. And I have fun applying that tenet to this image too.
The longing, the light, the mystery, the hope all seems to invade during Epiphany. Our work is to see the light and ask the questions and even imagine the Holy Spirit.