I received an e-mail from a young man who expressed his discouragement at not being able to find many images of the Savior with teenagers. He noted that he had seen many paintings depicting Christ with loveable little children, but rarely had he found his age group represented in such a setting. This young man closed his message with these heartfelt words: “What about us?” Many of us have probably asked a similar question. What about me? Who doesn’t love little children with all their precious innocence and charm? But what about those of us that may not feel as lovable; those of us who may have struggled and lost our way, or who have wandered paths that have left us worn and doubting our worth? Thankfully, Christ’s love carries no conditions and is extended in full measure, especially to those who feel lost and forgotten.
Greg Olsen – 2003
Painting Symbology: The young man is dressed in dark clothing representing those dark clouds that at times weigh heavy on our souls and seems to cover the light that still shimmers inside us. The knapsack and bedroll remind us of the worldly burdens that we all carry around … fear, discouragement, pain, loneliness, sorrow, anger, hopelessness and on and on. The meandering path in the background symbolizes the twists and turns of life’s journey, some of which stretch us to our limit. Such was the case with Dan the young man I used as a model in this painting. Dan was a friend of our family whose path brought him to a place where he chose to leave this life and the clouds that must have surrounded him. Dan’s journey has made this painting all the more poignant for me as life imitates art. Wherever we are in our journey, the Lord is near. He will not force himself upon us, but simply waits for us to ask for his help. Unlike most of us, who have difficulty seeing beyond the outward view of that person on the bench, Christ sees the soul knows the heart and remains the ultimate Savior and friend.