Jesus Falls for the First Time

Stations, Stations of the Cross
I wrote this small prayer when I started this project:
A Prayer Before Painting
May I give up control.
May the image be my friend, and speak to me.
May it assert itself gently, and sometimes agree to the direction of my hand.
May it see me as I, patiently, try to see it.
May the quiet of God sit in my mind as I paint.
May my own quiet listen.
Having written this prayer, I’ve been having a hard time living up to it.  The paintings I made for the first two stations were overworked, because I was trying very hard to control them.  The painting I made for this third station is more willful.  I told myself that I would allow it to be as free as I could, that I would accept accidents as they happened, that I would rejoice in all the small serendipities that develop when I try to put paint to paper.
I’m glad that I was able to give up some of my control as I painted the third station, because Jesus’s first fall while carrying the cross is his own moment of lack of control.  It comes early in the stations – not when he’s physically or spiritually exhausted, but when he’s just starting out.  In some ways this makes it harder to take.  There’s no excuse that can be given for it, it just happens.  I find it to be true in my own life that I’m more willing to accept my mistakes when I can rationalize them.  It’s the mistakes that catch me unawares and that I make for no apparent reason that I struggle with the most.

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