This isn’t new, and I’m sure many have seen it before. It has been a favorite of mine for a long time — in fact, years ago, I framed a copy I clipped from a magazine, because I couldn’t afford the real thing. I can’t imagine a better artistic depiction of what being a mother feels like. I love how she is clearly weighted by a multitude of responsibilities, yet she is flying! And, though her life must be busy and hectic, she doesn’t seem haggard, but looks forward with dignity and a sense of purpose.
Here is what the artist, James Christensen, has to say about this piece:
“What you have here is ‘woman as spiritual leader.’ She has a candle, which is my way of showing that she is carrying the torch, or leading the way. You notice that she has spare candles. Candles are symbols of light and wisdom. She also has a many-handed clock, and there is a compass to help her figure out which way to go. But beyond the individual items she carries, this is more an homage to the modern woman rather than a dictate of what a woman should be. You can be the person you want to be, and the things you carry can mean what you want them to mean.”
This picture also evokes a favorite passage of scripture, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” found in Proverbs 31:
11 The heart of her husband doth safely atrust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her ahands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She ariseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the adistaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the apoor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her aclothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her aclothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of akindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of aidleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
The woman described here, the woman in the picture above, every mother I know… our lives are full, they are complex, they are at times overwhelming, but they are infinitely worthwhile.