Welcome to Feels and Flowers, the podcast where your host confesses it all because only a select and special few people in my life listen in. Hooray! That’s how I get to disclose all. This week I tell you about how I ripped to shreds and dumped out all my artwork in a fit of anger. Yeah… This episode is all about disgruntled artists. And of course I also expound at great length about flowers.
All jokes aside, This week’s podcast is based on Genesis 3—the fall. This is part 1 of my take on it and what it tells us about the character of God. Also, this week’s flower is Helichrysum which is as hard to pronounce as it is to spell (Hear me struggle! I put a little outtake at the end so you can appreciate how much work goes into making this podcast as good as it can be!). Additionally, find semi-accurate show transcripts and extras at https://feelsandflowers.com/
Send me flowers! Your comments and emails will make my day. Email me at email@example.com and follow me on Instagram @feelsandflowerspodcast. Finally, Don’t forget to subscribe to the show and tell others about it. Go forth and share!
Read the Transcript
Somewhere in some landfill among the stink of communal filth, languish the remains of a hopeful young artist’s paintings and sketches. All of them good–not great–not perfect–yet all mine.
— [THEME MUSIC] —
Hi. Welcome to Feels and Flowers. A Christian podcast that celebrates the beautiful gospel truths that you are beautiful, you are loved, and you were made with a purpose. I am your host Paula Perez.
Now I am a newbie to podcasting, and the funny thing about it is, you do this thing and tell people about it, and people say they will listen to it, but only a very few of them will actually listen–which is quite a relief, honestly. I find it oddly comforting to know that only 3 or 4 of my listenters know ME personally so I feel pretty free to say whatever. However, though she’d said she’d listen in, I never truly believed that my mother would actually follow through.
And well, if you listened to last episode you will know what I said about the curse and other nonsense… Well. Happy to say she didn’t cry. She simply laughed a little (she’s cool like that). And so, I’d like to dedicate this episode to my mom, the sweetest, most loving and generous human being on this planet. Yet don’t let her soft exterior fool you. This lady has a backbone of steel, and an indomitable spirit that helps her face adversity with courage and faith. Mom, I will be very lucky, indeed, if I am able to one day have half as much warmth, heart, and wisdom as you. Love you!
This week’s podcast is based on Genesis 3. The fall. There is just an absolute ton of stuff to unpack in this one chapter, so I am going to do this as a two-parter.
But before we jump in let’s do the flower of the week, Helichrysum.
— [FLOWER MUSIC] —
Helichrysum is a yellow flower from the Mediterranean region that, when dried, retains its color and scent, thus earning its nickname, immortelle, or the immortal flower. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine due to its regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties which help heal scars and reverse the signs of aging. Additionally, it has been shown that it has the ability to support the health of neurological tissues as well as support the immune system. Finally Helichrysum is a mood booster. Its antidepressant properties are helpful for those experiencing shock, depression, stress, and hopelessness.
I love all the floral oils I have, but helichrysum essential oil is really worth investing in–not for its scent (which, I’ll be honest, it’s not my favorite)–but because it is so incredibly effective. Learn my favorite uses for Helichrysum before you go… But thats for a little later. Now, back to what we started….
— [FLOWER MUSIC FADES OUT] —
Somewhere in some landfill among the stink of communal filth, languish the remains of a hopeful young artist’s paintings and sketches. There are dozens of them: some depict flaming skies in acrylics–the colors now all marred by mud and slime, some are crumpled watercolors of once-pristine winter landscapes, and some are floral still lifes in oil pastels, all torn to bits and strewn carelessly in the wet mud like jagged-edged petals. Last, but not least, are an untold number of crumpled pages of pencil and charcoal sketches which contain a young artist’s attempt at depicting the human figure. All of these pictures are good–not great–not perfect–yet all mine.
Sometimes I regret how one day in a fit of anger I simply gathered them all, looked them over with a critical eye, decided that they fell short of my ideals of perfection, and threw them into the dumpster. Some of them, the most colorful ones, the ones I had once considered my best, I took the time to tear to pieces, unleashing my destructive impulses upon those drawings which at my most disillusioned moment I felt were nothing but blatant and undeniable evidence of what I had feared all along–My best was not good enough. Me and artist? Yeah right.
These were not just pictures that I was destroying. I was destroying a dream, or rather, a belief that I was any good at art and that it was worth pursuing. And so, with disgust and disappointment, I carried out that deed and resolved never to think of them again.
The art world is always shocked and scandalized when a lunatic or disgruntled person decides to destroy a famous work of art. Who can forget the explosion that damaged beyond repair Rodin’s “The Thinker,” the multiple attacks on Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” with knife and acid, the time someone spray painted on the “Mona Lisa,” the slashing of Barnett Newman’s 18-foot-wide work “Who’s afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue III” and the travesty of its so-called “restoration”? Or most shocking of all, that time when a man armed with a hammer repeatedly struck Michelangelo’s “La Pieta” with such force that he damaged Mary’s face and eye, shattered her nose, and snapped off her arm?
Yeah, the world is shocked by such attacks. Yet how baffling and even more terrible it is to think that artists can wreak even more damage when they themselves destroy their own work.
There’s been many times when artists chose to burn, slash, or paint over their paintings. Some artists did it for vanity’s sake. Michelangelo, for example, destroyed many of his studies and preparatory sketches, just because he wanted people to believe that his masterpieces were the product of sudden genius or inspiration, rather than the result of meticulous planning and painstaking work. But others did it on a matter of principle.
In 1908, just as a gallery in Paris was getting ready to exhibit Claude Monet’s newest work, the artist himself slashed through 15 of his own paintings–the work of at least 3 years–causing a damage that was then estimated to be worth around 2 million dollars, though if those same paintings were to be valued today they would amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. The reason? He’d been filled with despair at the fact that his paintings–most of which were depictions of the waterlilies in his lush garden, failed to properly capture the artistic vision he’d had. His works were beautiful… but not enough. Not nearly perfect enough for the perfectionist artist. As a result the exhibition had to be postponed for another year while Monet created another collection of paintings that pleased him enough to finally exhibit.
This wasn’t an isolated event, sometimes while working outdoors he would rip his paintings to shreds or put his foot through them if he was unhappy with his work. Once he even threw his easel and paints into the river. Monet was quoted once saying “My life has been nothing but a failure, and all that’s left for me to do is to destroy my paintings before I disappear.”
Sometimes I think that there is something inside an artist–be they a painter, writer, sculptor, embroiderer, whatever–that feels despair when the work they put so much time, soul, and effort into does not live up to the vision they had in mind. This is pure anguish which no one but a fellow artist can truly understand. Even amateur artists like myself.
Anyway. Let’s go back to the topic. Each one of us associates God with the attributes that most call to us. It all depends on what experience you’ve had with God in your life. Some of us think of him as God the Holiest who deserves honor and praise, or God the avenger on whom one can call on for justice, even God the all consuming fire who people like to bring down on sinners.
God has always been for me a Father. But he’s also God the creator. The artist. Because through nature and the beauty of the world He created I am best reminded of Him, and I am most likely to be drawn to thinking about Him.
And what a beautiful world he created. I see it in the rain clouds, in the sunrise, in the fractal patterns of nature, in the tidepools, in the moon, and in the people he made. Just imagine what the world was like when it was just made. Perfect, pristine, and his crowning act of creation–mankind–was the most perfect of all.
Yet there was trouble in paradise
In the book of Genesis, chapter 3 it says…
The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?”
2-3 The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’”
4-5 The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”
6 When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.
7 Immediately the two of them did “see what’s really going on”—saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves.
8 When they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God.
9 God called to the Man: “Where are you?”
10 He said, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid.”
11 God said, “Who told you you were naked? Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?”
12 The Man said, “The Woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree, and, yes, I ate it.”
God said to the Woman, “What is this that you’ve done?”
13 “The serpent seduced me,” she said, “and I ate.”
22 God said, “The Man has become like one of us, capable of knowing everything, ranging from good to evil. What if he now should reach out and take fruit from the Tree-of-Life and eat, and live forever? Never—this cannot happen!”
23-24 So God expelled them from the Garden of Eden and sent them to work the ground, the same dirt out of which they’d been made. He threw them out of the garden and stationed angel-cherubim and a revolving sword of fire east of it, guarding the path to the Tree-of-Life.
Let’s get this out of the way.
Evil exists. Sin made what was once perfect into something that was blemished. That’s just cause and effect.
But the principle of cause and effect all by itself would have Adam and Eve immediately die after eating the fruit. So then… they don’t die? But God said they would die when they ate! What’s this inconsistency? And also, what kind of awful punishment is death for eating a fruit?
First off, I am glad that IF God is ever inconsistent (that is, He does not act on what He says He’s going to do), it is always when He does so for the sake of showing mercy.
Second, there is SO MUCH at stake here than just fruit and whether or not 2 people felt adventurous about what they were going to have for dinner, ok? If you need an in-depth talk or Bible study about this chapter, message me and I’ll hook you up with goods OR I’ll do a special episode about it.
But here is just ONE of my takeaways when I read Genesis 3. God is a God of Justice, Adam and Eve and the rest of their offspring must live with their consequences. But God is also a God of Mercy, notice Adam and Eve MUST LIVE with their consequences. They aren’t destroyed or immediately struck down the moment they sinned.
Look I could go on, but it honestly isn’t my goal to refute point by point every single one of the misconceptions of God that there are out there. The idea that God relies on any human to help justify His actions or to defend him is ludicrous.
However, it is my job as an individual to share the message only I can give: the evidence of God in MY life–and I have come to know a God that is overwhelmingly generous, and who has a vast patience and mercy so fathomless that despite my many attempts, I have yet to delve deep enough into my own darkness to reach the bottom of His grace. The God I know is not petty or carried away by fits of passion when you and I don’t do what he says. He is not a tortured soul that acts out of frustration or self-loathing as most of us artists do when we destroy our own work.
In Philippians 1:6 the Apostle Paul writes: And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
We are not flawed masterpieces that were once perfect but now are not and He now has to begrudgingly patch us up. I don’t believe that. Even though we are part of a fallen race, I believe that we are individuals full of potential and destined for higher things. We are raw materials in the hands of a great artist–each one of us in different stages of progress–but all of us will one day become masterpieces if we God do what He does best: Create. God, who knows the end from the beginning, is working in our lives with that goal in mind, and He is willing to stick with His work in progress, and persevere–IF we let Him.
So if you ever feel like you’re too far gone, things are too hopeless, like you’re too old to try again or to start something new. If you look at yourself and think that you are too imperfect, and just not enough, take heart. You may have given up on YOU and you may be tempted to tear and kick and slash and burn what remains of your dreams and your life, but your Creator is still not done with you, He has great plans for you, because YOU are his masterpiece.
— [THEME MUSIC FADE OUT] —
If you’ve reached this far, thank you for listening.
Like I promised, my favorite use of Helichrysum is… as a skin treatment. It is marvelous on wounds, burns, and scars. I use the essential oil, and believe me it does wonders. I burnt myself once with some hot oil when I was cooking, and after applying ice I started applying this to my skin. It healed right up and left no trace of scarring. Hooray! Find out how to prepare this blend at feelsandflowers.com. You can also find show transcripts and other extras on the episode posts.
That’s all for now. Send me flowers! Your emails and comments will make my day! If you’d like to reach me, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can also follow me on IG: @feelsandflowerspodcast. If you enjoy Feels and Flowers please be sure to leave a rating on and subscribe on Apple podcasts or whatever podcast platform you use. That would really help a lot.
See you next time for part 2 of Genesis 3. God Bless
— [THEME MUSIC FADE OUT] —
I mentioned several concepts of God which we all seem to have, ranging from a benevolent all-loving God to an angry and all-consuming God who is just barely restraining himself from sending all sinners to hell. This latter view was popularized during the Great Awakening in the 1700s, a historical movement that took place when several preachers of great renown preached a gospel which imparted the listeners with the sense of personal guilt and a need of salvation by Christ. Of all these preachers, Jonathan Edwards’ ”Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” gave such a vivid account of the retributive and punitive qualities of God, and gave such a sense of impending doom, that hundreds and thousands of people were moved to make a change in their lives.
How can we reconcile the God of “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” with a God for whom we are “Raw Materials in the Hands of the Great Artist”?
Is it possible to have one without the other? What about both?
How could that potentially be a source of conflict?
Are there any stories in the Bible where you see this duality of God (Justice/Mercy, Nurture/Discipline) at play?
What is the God that you have experienced the most in your life?