In his essay, In the Image of God, Bruce C. Birch mentions that “To be created in the image of God brings with it the commission to care for the earth.” I was commissioned to care for a cat for 16 years. He showed me how finite life is. I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that he so quickly expended his time – his entire existence – in this world. It wasn’t, and will never be for many of us from our earthly perspective, enough.
As I labored over this sketch, I came to realize the significance of creation. Creation allows us to restore to life things that once were. God blessed us with the capacity to do as he did – to breathe life in a certain sense. I spent many days mourning the loss of my friend. But in creating, I found an outlet to finally celebrate life rather than grieve its loss. I chose to celebrate Buttons. I chose charcoal because I could get messy and become a part of the image, just as Buttons is a part of me. I stroked his fur into existence; I rubbed his eyes into a living black. Finally, after watching him slowly take form, I felt like he was there in the room with me.
He appeared to be gazing right back, thanking me for allowing us to see one another again.