Midnight Glory

“…for the sun stopped shining.” Luke 23:45

I saw the top two inches of the canvas peeking out behind an old trunk piled with books. My friend Melissa found a bunch of antique jewelry at an estate sale. Her text read, “Come fast.” So I did. I found a few unique pieces of jewelry, but I kept eyeing the canvas. Finally, I pulled out the dusty 3×4 foot painting stroked with dull but somewhat whimsical flowers.
And THEN every estate sale junkie’s favorite phrase ran across the canvas. ”I have POTENTIAL.” I agreed wholeheartedly and told her I would introduce her to an artist who could help her discover it.

I brought the painting to Kelly Van Dyke, one of my dearest friends who has a wonderful eye for making old art new. I gave her vague direction (something about yellow and how it’s my favorite color) because I don’t like to influence (i.e. disrupt) the creative process of artists I trust.

A few days later, she texted back and said, “It took a bit of a different turn than primarily yellow…I added a lot of black.”

Hmmmm. Really? Black??

She sent me a picture and I ADORED it – immeasurably more than a painting of yellow flowers.

I loved it so much I told Kelly we must name her. She asked her 7-year-old son Atticus who replied, “Garden of Flower.” She asked her husband Zach who suggested “Purple Summer” – the last song in Spring Awakening. I read the lyrics and loved it. That was that.

The day I picked up the painting, I hung it on the wall and was sitting just staring at her altogether newness. I’d even turned her on her side from landscape to portrait – which every artist knows changes everything. But the BLACK! Not the yellow, the black was bringing every other color to life. Beautiful, whimsical, mysterious life. Still staring.

And then she sort of started talking to me…or maybe it was closer to singing. I’m not sure. It’s really my first experience with this sort of thing. At first I was taken aback and then…it struck me. Isn’t that what we all do when we are transformed? Don’t we come alive?! So I kept my gaze on her, but turned my ear a little closer to listen.

Apparently her real name is Midnight Glory…not Purple Summer. And this is what she said:

Midnight Glory

Acknowledge the lie to uncover the truth
Reach wisdom’s age to understand youth
The harder the battle, sweeter victory won
The darker the shadow, the brighter the sun
Glory is hidden in a palette of light
But is fully expressed on the canvas of night.

The great pain of labor, the euphoria of birth
Losing your life to know your full worth
In depths of pain we grasp our true health
In poorest of spirit we hold our great wealth
Glory is hidden amidst noonday light
But is fully expressed in the middle of night

You must know your past to know what’s ahead
Let go of control to know daily bread
An unspeakable joy that can drip through tears
An omnipotent God who can ease our fears
Glory is hidden when surrounded by light
But is fully expressed when surrendered to night

To move with great power, sit still at the throne
You’re not fully loved until you’re fully known
Only the broken can uncover what’s whole
Only the lost can discover their soul
Glory is hidden in the pretense of light
But is fully expressed in the presence of night.

To bond with freedom, you must break each chain
To breathe in spring’s flowers, they must drink the rain
When darkness surrounds you, light will guide your feet
When bitterness drowns you, forgiveness is sweet
Glory is hidden when we run in our light
But is fully expressed as we walk through the night.

So embrace the bleakest, the blackest of hours
And know in your weakest, the greatest of Powers
Will bring you His Light, of the heavenly kind
That illuminates heart, where there’s only been mind
Glory is hidden in a palette of light
But is fully expressed on the canvas of night.

Thank you Midnight Glory. I have this feeling you were trying to express it more beautifully…but I hear you, girl. The brightest and greatest glory ever to grace this earth came in the blackest of night. Death continues to bring life.

Surrender to the darker palette. Allow transformation. Trust the Artist. Come alive.

I told Kelly she really should paint more often.

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Luke 23:44-45


Leave a comment