[16 inches wide by 20 inches high, brushed aluminum]
I will not leave you orphaned. John 14:18]
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, I participated in an online study of the Book of Lamentations led by my associate rector. As we considered the plight of widows and orphans, I recalled a time some years ago when, after decades of troubled relationship with my mother, I entered counseling to discern my part in the brokenness. When driving home after a particularly emotional counseling session, I turned on the radio and encountered the strains of the powerful spiritual, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” It spoke poignantly to what I was feeling and gave me permission to grieve the absence of the kind of relationship I had longed to have with my mother.
Years later, I discovered that a newer translation of John 14:18 had replaced “disconsolate” (a word that did not speak to me) with “orphaned” (a word that struck a deep chord within me).
This digital collage (printed onto brushed aluminum) features an image of myself as a young child, the text of the spiritual as background “texture,” and the score of the spiritual as a design element. The words of the biblical focus, John 14:18, heighten my sense of kinship with those who, particularly during the pandemic, were experiencing profound feelings of being “orphaned” or “motherless.”