But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.
I created this piece of artwork for my new niece’s nursery (who enters the world next week) just after my nephew, Joel, exited the world. Joel was only 5 years old, and after 4 years of valiant effort, succumbed to his battle with brain cancer. It was very difficult to attempt whimsy and baby-cute style while simultaneously dealing with such sorrow. A moment of inspiration hit me and as a result I infused a lot of meaning into the piece — including the Scripture from Jeremiah above. I wanted to produce something to honor my nephew, and give baby Zoe a beautiful, gentle, yet constant reminder of her family and the brother she’ll never get to know personally.
It’s incredibly cathartic to create art; especially in the midst of grief. If you’ve never tried it before, get out those paints, those pens, that clay the next time you need to decompress…I highly recommend it.
Zoe’s four older brothers were instrumental in helping me create this piece of artwork. Each tree represents one of the Green boys and contains their unique fingerprint. I collected the fingerprints on March 12, 2014 with a simple idea in my head but not knowing it would be the last night before Joel would take his final breaths and join Jesus in Heaven. A few days later at Joel’s viewing, the boys’ cousin, Lincoln (4 years old) was asked by his mom what he thought Joel’s first words to Jesus were. He immediately responded, “I think he said ‘thank you for giving me life'”. Coincidentally, the name Zoe means ‘Life’ — the abundant life from God. This piece is not only in memory and honor of Joel and the 5 sweet years we got with him, but also a collective “Thank You” to Jesus for giving us the gift of baby Zoe and the gift of eternal life.