How Long, Oh Lord?
30 x 48
Gouache, chalk, pencil, ink, and nail enamel on canvas
The New Testament gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke all give the account of a woman who suffered from uncontrollable uterine bleeding for twelve years. Her name is not revealed, nor the specifics which caused her malady—which we can speculate as fibroids, polyps, or possibly even a malignant tumor.
At any rate, the physicians of her day were unable to successfully treat her. She had spent all of her living consulting doctors who furnished faulty diagnoses and equally dismal treatment protocols which only worsened her condition.
PHYSICAL PAIN, AND SOCIAL SECLUSION
Here, I depict the woman in misery, clutching a heating pad she has crafted to soothe the cramping. Over a decade of constant blood loss has left her weak and drained.
But worst of all, she is in a constant state of impurity. This affects her life from both a personal and public perspective. Courtship and marriage are an elusive dream; and the thought of bearing children
a cruel mockery, for bleeding must stop for an embryo to attach and thrive in the womb.
SYMBOLISM IN THE PAINTING
In the corner by the window there is a vase with red flowers. In the Old Testament, a woman "in her flowers" referred to the monthly cleansing cycle of the female reproductive system; a comparison to plant life where the flower blooms and wilts before the fruit appears. (Fruit in this context being human conception—the fruit of the
womb). There is also a crack in the vase; this crack represents the dysfunction causing the continuous bleeding.
WASH, RINSE, REPEAT
Though washed as thoroughly as possible, the lingering stains on
the cloths bear witness to the malady plaguing the woman. Their presence is not a monthly, but rather a daily reminder of her unclean status; and a permanent component of her home's interior.
GOD HEARS EVERY PRAYER
AND SEES EVERY TEAR
The heartfelt prayers of this precious sister have touched heaven, and her dreary circumstances are about to take an unanticipated turn. She is aroused from her depressive musings by the sound of a boisterous crowd outside...