Friday, 11 March 2011

Hello, man working on the ceiling

Thanks for these pictures. It will fascinating to see the work unfold.

Why is it Ian that this project keeps on opening up my heart? And in particular the memories of my father? My first thought when I saw them was to remember when I spent a summer painting our church ceiling when I was about 16! My father was a convert to Catholicism, before that he was Church in Wales ( Anglican). Out of the blue - a few months before - he just told us he was having his first communion! He had been taking instructions for months and told no-one, not even my mother! A short time after he had become a Catholic the parish priest (St. Cadoc's Llanrumney, Cardiff ) asked for volunteers to paint the Church ceiling. And of course, he volunteered us. He got the paint - which was light green - and set up the kind of scaffolding from which you are working at the moment and up we went. I was terrified at being up so high, but being with my father made me feel I would be alright. One day I asked him why he was doing it: after all he worked so hard all the time in the steelworks and hardly ever had free time, but he had set aside his precious free time that summer to paint the church ceiling. Then he said something that surprised me: I cannot remember exactly, but it was something about work and prayer. His work was hard and dangerous and was all about just getting through it to make a living. He hated his job. But, he said, painting the church gave him the opportunity - as a working man - to pray and be close to God through work. It was only green emulsion, we were not painting the Sistine chapel after all; but for him it was, I believe, a deeply spiritual act. After we finished we signed our names in a corner of the ceiling. Perhaps Ian, that is why I am actually involved in this icon project in the first place. Perhaps, that experience sank deep into my heart and was waiting to be released. I had really forgotten all about this episode in my life but seeing that scaffold and you painting brought it all back. Like my father, perhaps, I want to - through you - paint something beautiful for God. ( I hope I am not turning all psychological now!) But in the words of Bob Hope, 'Thanks for the memories.'

No comments:

Post a Comment