This sculpture is designed to show how nature is holding people up during the pandemic. There is lots of evidence that being out in nature, even if that is only a garden, can help with mental health not only during a pandemic but always. It’s a good sculpture, I like it because I understand what it’s trying to say.
If I look at it as a piece of art I wonder how it is held up, where is the balance to enable it to rest on legs and hands. I expect it to fall forward; to be balanced on his head. It’s good that a piece of art makes us think.
But this is more than just a figure to wonder about. It’s telling a story. It shows the despair of the person hanging limply, dragging his limbs along the ground. Clearly this person has run out of hope and strength and just wants to give up, to rest. He can’t lift his head, is that because of shame, despair, fear, rejection, depression. There are no physical injuries on the person but his mental anguish is obvious.
Yet he hasn’t completely collapsed. He is being held up by a single bird; not a flock, just a single bird. You see it doesn’t have to be hours spent on a nature reserve with so much to see that you don’t know where to look, ten minutes each day watching a bee or a flower or water in a pond or a single bird is enough to improve mental health, to keep someone going; ten minutes a day in God’s creation, looking, wondering, and marvelling, really seeing nature around us. Thanking God for the beauty and creativity, the order and connectedness of the natural world.
As I looked at this picture I began to think about how God would lift us up. I don’t think He would drag us along by the back of our shirts. I’m studying Ezekiel at the moment and have come across quite a few verses which talk about God setting Ezekiel back on his feet, and there are other examples too.
Ezekiel 2:2 The Spirit came into me as he spoke, and he set me on my feet.
Daniel 8:18 While he was speaking, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. But Gabriel roused me with a touch and helped me to my feet.
Psalm 146:8 The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.
I’m sure that when God has lifted me up it’s been gently, with great tenderness and love; he has taken me by the arm and held me, or lifted me gently as one would hold a child. He comforts and reassures and, at times, sends people to be with us and help us along the way.
So, rather than meeting a friend who is depressed or suffers from anxiety or stress for coffee, once we can do that, rather than inviting that person to your house to sit inside and share a meal, both of which are good things to do, invite someone to walk with you, walk slowly taking note of what is around you. Spend some time in silence to watch the caterpillar, the butterfly, the flower or bird; to see the changes as the seasons change. Remind them that God loves them, cares for them and is with them always and pray with and for them.