I've decided to write this weeks' Sentimental Sunday post about the painting pictured above. For as long as I can remember this painting has been hanging over the dinning room table in my parents house. Recently, I was flipping through an old photo album and my eyes kept landing on this picture. The houses had changes and so had the wallpaper, but the painting always remained.
I had always found comfort in the painting of the old man with his head bent in prayer over a loaf of bread and bowl of soup, his bible nearby. I always felt that this painting was a nod to our Christian faith and a gentle reminder that we all need breaks from life when we can slow down and take time to pray.
As I began to write this post I started to wonder exactly how long that painting had been there? Where had my parents bought it? And what prompted them to move it from house to house and hang it, time and time again?
The answers I received were not what I had expected. In all honestly, I'm not sure what I was expecting, maybe that they had purchased it at a garage sale, or that it came with one of their houses, something... lame. I certainly didn't expect to hear my father get so choked-up while telling the story, that he had to hand the telephone to my mother so she could finish the story for him.
The story begins with my father's Uncle Peck, the man who has never failed to bring a smile to my face. Uncle Peck and his wife Mary had a copy of this painting hanging in their house for several years. On one of his visits to their house, my father commented on how much he like the painting. It wasn't mentioned again and they all went on with their lives.
A few years later my parents were about to be married and were trying to make due with the struggles that they had been dealt. My dad's Aunt Mary had purchased a blender for their wedding gift. Uncle Peck learned of this and told her that a blender wasn't a suitable gift for his favorite nephew. I'm sure Aunt Mary laughed at him when he said this, but she went out and found a copy of that painting that my father had always admired. My parents ended up receiving both the blender and painting as wedding gifts. The blender is long-gone, but that painting is still hanging there. It was even one of the few possessions my parents were able to salvage when our house burnt down all those years ago.
After listening to my parents share their memories today, I know this painting wasn't just any wedding gift. It was a gift from the two people who guided my father into the man he is today. They were the people who gladly labored in the tobacco field with my parents when other family members wouldn't. Peck was the man who taught my dad to hunt. And dear Mary, God rest her soul, was the woman who, I think, taught my father to love.
I now know that when my parents look at that painting, they see more than just the old man, they remember the joys that Peck and Mary brought into their lives. A reminder to them that Mary is watching over them in Heaven. And today I learned that this painting isn't just hanging there, it is a symbol of love and faith and my parents choose to display it for all to see.