1 In Marriage/ Personal

I Married an Artist

I first heard about Lindy long before I met her. I was dating someone else at the time but found myself so intrigued by the rumors of this tall, blonde artsy chick. She was also the first person I’d ever heard of that owned an iPod and that was, like, so hot to me.

After several months of hanging out together I made plans to officially ask her out. I had to get that right so I took her for a day at The Getty Center to see some of Titian’s work on display. I planned to ask her to be my girlfriend out on the terraces over looking Los Angeles – how perfect, right? I panicked when we got out there and never made it happen. We headed home through LA traffic and I turned on the soundtrack to The Gladiator to get myself pumped up, determined not to come back to Riverside with out a girlfriend.

She said yes, and I was pulled full force in to her world of drop cloths, canvases, and buckets of brushes. When her crew was working over night on a faux project I’d head down to meet her with Starbucks before heading home to bed. When she worked days we’d always go out together with little bits of paint still on her hands. She taught me how to build canvases, took me behind the scenes with her sketches and shared whatever Thomas Merton quote was inspiring her at the moment. As I was falling in love with Lindy I would describe her as a gold miner because she would sift every little bit of life throughout her day and end up with little bits of gold to share with me.

When we had been dating for several months Lindy was commissioned by our pastors to do a painting depicting the image of God during a six week series at our church. They asked for something large and wanted her to paint live during all of the services on Easter morning. Lindy had this brilliant idea of breaking down the painting in to nine 4’x6′ pieces that she would paint individually over the course of six weeks and then bring together at the conclusion to reveal the final image. We went right to work together – she sketched out her ideas, I built canvases, and then I watched her do the whole project in miniature to test the effect.

I was so much fun and I remember feeling so alive being invited in to join Lindy in her creation.

The whole project came together beautifully. Over the course of the series Lindy painted each of the nine pieces on stage and our whole church was so intrigued at what the final product would be – looking forward to the final the reveal. But it was the weekend before before the reveal that was the most profound for me.

Lindy Pardee painting during service at Sandals Church in 2006.

As usual, Lindy was onstage painting during service but stepped off stage a few minutes in to the sermon leaving behind a canvas with a beautiful white lily shining over a dark texture of red and gray. Our pastor was teaching that every one of us is viewed by God as his masterpiece designed to bring beauty and goodness into this world. We are all like a canvas God has painted but it is up to each of us what we do with our lives. Over time, most of us live lives that leave our canvases damaged. As he talked about the reality of sin in the life of a Christian he reached down, picked up a can of spray paint, shook it up, and blasted a giant black “x” across Lindy’s white lily. No one thought he was actually going to do it, but he did.

There were gasps and one lady screamed in the front. I remember seeing people in our church actually angry at our pastor for what he did to the painting, and he shared how all of those feelings are what most of us embrace when our lives don’t turn out the way we’ve hoped but are instead marred by hurt, disappointment, and pain. Most of us simply accept that we aren’t perfect anymore and either do more damage to our lives or busy our selves trying to hide the imperfections. But it doesn’t have to be that way there is hope in calling back the original artist to do the work of restoration. As the sermon moved toward its conclusion Lindy quietly walked back on stage with her brushes and paint and went to work, removing every evidence of the damage that had been done. It was a profound moment for our church, but a life changing one for me.

I believe God spoke to me that day:

“Marry that girl. She is the brush I will use to restore your life.”

So I asked her, and she said yes. When we were married the altar was littered with canvases, paint and lilies. During the ceremony Lindy brushed a deep amber on to my hand before I placed it on a canvas. I painted her palm gold and she left her stamp on top of mine. We made a solemn oath and each became the others.

But then things changed. I had this picture of what our life should look like and I dragged Lindy in that direction. She gave up her life to compliment mine, she became a mom and the caretaker of our home. She quit painting. Over the last several years there have been no more murals or canvases, no paint on her hands. After many years of patience and counseling we’ve found a healthy place. I’ve remembered that the reason I was attracted to Lindy in the first place was because of how different she was from me. I’ve quit trying to cover up the imperfections of my life and invited the original artist back to bring restoration. As promised, he’s doing that through Lindy.

Home as Art is our new canvas. Lindy has been rediscovering art and I’m so grateful that she’s invited me to join her again in the creation process. Moving forward I can practice the vows I made the day I married an artist:

Lindy, you are God’s brush in my life.
Your heart is beautiful and wise.
I will love you and care for you as God grows us in His will.
I will lead you in only the path that God takes us.
I commit to bringing God joy, with you.
I give to you my love and faithfulness.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Rick Nichols
    January 5, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    That was beautiful and very well written. You too are an artist…just a different medium 🙂
    Blessings my friend
    Rick Nichols

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