God only knows the endless possibilities that lie enfolded in each one of us! Parables of the Cross
It was the fall of 1858. Lilias’s father, Alexander Trotter, was preparing to embark upon an extended visit to the United States, to visit overseas clients and investigate the railway companies on behalf of Coutts Bank, broker to a number of foreign railway companies. Isabella Trotter, Lilias’s mother, gave her consent on one condition: that she would accompany him – little imagining that he would make good on her offer!
Isabella, anticipating the impact of this separation on five-year-old Lily, purchased a sketchbook for her daughter and presented it with this simple inscription: “Lily – Sept. to Dec. 1858.” Upon their departure, Lily faithfully recorded pictures depicting their departure, waving to a ship from a wooden dock, and concluded her sketchbook with evidences of the advent of Christmas and the anticipated return of her parents. Within the pages, were images and imaginations of a Victorian childhood: tree house and castles, beach coasts and bathing machine, pipe smoking gnome. Kittens and cats scamper through the pages decorated with alphabet books, toys and other vestiges of childhood.
Her mother, in turn, faithfully wrote to “My dear little girl” recording experiences and views of the “new world” with vivid descriptions of places and landscapes comparing them to Lily’s known world in England. At one point, she left a blank space for her “to fill up with her imagination, for no words can convey any idea of the scene.” Without the slightest trace of condescension, she likewise shared viewpoints she observed, urging her to take her comments about the racial conflict (just before the Civil War!) – “I shall give you the testimony of everyone as I gather it for you to put together that you may be able to form your deductions.” (These letters were later published as First Impressions of the New World on Two Travelers from the Old.)
Clearly, this mother recognized a budding artistic talent in her young daughter and provided the tools and incentive to encourage and develop the same. But could she have even imagined the other abilities that were latent in the unformed child? How could she possibly have surmised the leadership abilities, the vision, the faith that would mark the adult life and legacy?
Possibilities. Who knows what possibilities lie within a human being. Never is one so aware of the mysterious potential than when in the presence of a child. What gifts lie hidden within that unformed being? What circumstances and events will shape and cultivate their innate gifts and guide the very direction of their lives?
Lilias’s developing talent is presented in a recently published picture book for “children of all ages,” Lily: The Girl Who Could See. Here the simple narrative of her life is compellingly related by Sally Oxley and beautifully illustrated by Tim Ladwig. (See Amazon Books)
What distinguishes Lily’s artistic journey is her understanding, from an early age, of her creative gift in relationship to The Creator. This belief that she could only be all God intended her to be in relation to Him – as a person and as an artist – informed the most important decisions of her life. And, her joyous conclusion, that only way to true joy and satisfaction is in full surrender to God, is an inspiration for persons of any age.
She concludes her Parables of the Cross with a painting and reflection on the new-born wood-sorrel writing: God only knows the endless possibilities that lie folded in each one of us! Shall we not let Him have His way? Shall we not go all lengths with Him in His plans for us – not, as these ‘green things upon the earth’ in their unconsciousness, but with the glory of free choice?
The creative “possibilities” are not just for the young with years ahead to plan and develop their innate gifts. With God, each day offers possibilities to grow and serve Him – regardless of the circumstances – at each and every age and stage of life. True creativity is not the result of a free, unbridled spirit but it is a way of being: the creature in right relationship with the Creator. “Shall we not go all lengths with Him in His plans for us?”