Smile, God loves you: The space between us

By Tiffany Chartier
For the Prosper Press

You can be within arm’s reach of someone and find yourself miles apart. In this regard, we are time travelers, often holding ourselves together with memories, not wanting to admit that our finest moments together might already be preserved in photographs.  

Most minutes that comprise a single day are quickly forgotten. Some moments are wished away; still others, wished upon. A few moments forever remain with us, if not to remind us of how great we loved, then to haunt us of the love we are now without.  

Such thoughts are often suppressed because having a conversation about them might change nothing or having the conversation might change everything. People who have remained within arm’s reach of one another year after year find comfort, even in loneliness, knowing someone familiar is there – someone with whom photographs prove you once did life together – you once shared time rather than just space.      

Space.  

Recently I visited my brother and his wife’s art gallery. The space was filled with creative and captivating pieces. I recognized when one artist’s collection ended and another began as each displayed a distinct perspective, style, medium, and depth. Even though the canvases were dressed in dried paint, the artwork was very much alive through interpretation. I strolled amongst diaries authored by brush rather than pen and was gifted a glimpse into the artist’s soul as well as my own.  

One painting I returned to over and over. I allowed this canvas to draw out of me emotions I had yet to find the words to express. The longer I stared at the portrait, the more I journeyed within his painted stare, and the more I hardly took notice of the space between us.  

Space. 

In arm’s reach, I took the portrait from the wall, knowing it somehow already belonged to me – with me.   

A few days later, I sat in my office chair and stared at the portrait I had displayed neatly upon my wall. Why did I choose this piece? Why this one? I kept asking myself. It is unlike the sunny aesthetic images that typically lull me. This painting is of an American Indian warrior waiting for his time to take a stand.  

The warrior’s eyes give a different story than the warpaint on his face. His eyes appear to see more than the battlefield. He sees the past - memories of his life - his loves, losses, and victories. He sees the future; even if blurry, he trusts he has a hope worth fighting for. His eyes also reveal the suggestion of fear and a proclamation of determination. His gaze is forward, but he brings every moment he has ever lived with him. Having thus far survived all, the warrior is at peace. He is at peace even in the face of certain change. 

I find myself once again taking a journey within his stare, and I recognize myself in him: a warrior who is determined to do what she is called to do in this moment, even if I must do it scared. A warrior who takes with her every moment she has ever lived but realizes there is living yet to do – hope yet to hope - days that must be met with eyes open in faith rather than blinded by fear.  

My youth may be keeping company with some of my best memories, but my Lord has not stopped giving proof of His desire for me to keep going, to continue to put life into my living, and yes, to share time with others rather than to simply share space.  

Find a place – a space – where joy and courage live beyond memories and fear. Journey into the choices given today. This temporary world often feels like a daily battle. May we never forget our powerful God and our God-given gifts.  

Whoever crosses our path becomes our ministry. Like the artist who imagined and painted the warrior – his spirituality was shown through his work upon the canvas. I recognized something familiar in the artist’s creation, which stirred my spirituality and rekindled my faith.  

From one to the next, person to moment, we can choose to use our time and talents to inspire positivity, love, and living for the most valuable moment – NOW - and for the greater purpose – HIS. In doing so, the space between us is shared and savored, and the days before us are met with hope, peace, and joy. 

SGLY, dear reader. 

(Smile, God Loves You.) 

Tiffany Chartier

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.