Not only do they obscure the full picture but also present some parts of the image in strong relief, vivid and sharp.
The full picture laid out flat is a clear but one-dimensional snap-shot that cannot fully express the journey.
Take that same picture, clasp it between your hands and have at it, wadding it up into a ball until we have to look closely to see the image, parts of it displayed upon the exposed edges while other portions are hidden in the creases.
Watch as the ball begins to expand on its own, unable to remain compressed because that is not the journey either.
The journey is in the unfolding, the expansion, the expression gradually of all the colors and shapes always there but revealed more slowly as we observe.
Sharp mountains become worn away over time, the edge softening if we let nature take its course. As the mountains soften, the canyons fill out, spreading and widening, becoming broad and allowing trees to grow, to sink roots.
Our entire life, the image, is a wadded up ball, a circle of spirit and body beginning the joureny.
We have within us, as we lay in Her womb, all possibility, we are tightly curled, crumpled, wrinkled, and waiting to grow, to expand.
If we were to see ourselves clearly, would we see the potential of our journey drawn upon our skin like an artistic masterpiece, all the colors and lines alluding to where we could go and who we might become?
But the picture is blurry because we are small, compressed, hardly even able at first for our mountains and valleys--our strengths and our softness--to be seen. Our precise vision and gentle curves barely visible until we are born and begin living, expanding.
Each one of us painted in perfection, and then crumpled into a ball so that we can find our own way, our own expression of love within the world, travel our own path.
I look at the painting of Self, reflecting upon the image. See the saturation of bright colors of family loving and happy on a trip; globs of black here and there when I was gone, had disappeared from sight while struggling just to survive a moment in danger. The dark slashes of deep valley where depression almost consumed me and the bright purple mountain top where I rose up and found my strength through Her wondrous gifts of animals and trees, of beauty and butterflies and blossoms in abundance.
Now in midlife, I can see the painting leveling out a bit, the image more clear through the unfolding, and connections more obvious. See the rough, smudged spots where tears have fallen and flooded the creases and run the colors onto another scene before being dried. A faded garden where too much was revealed to an intense moment that was unexpected.
The crinkles and creases of my life are being smoothed, softened, as I open to the full image that is me and smiling at the tatters or smudges, the frenzied splotches that are not a taint upon the whole but rather reveal the mystery that is essence. The lines remain upon the image even as it continues to expand revealing a full life, the whole picture.
The wrinkles are there to enhance the beauty of a creation that has been through all the journey and has survived.
I can see the beauty in each line that lingers. And it is more beautiful than a painting untouched or ironed out or re-created to be completely different than how it began.
The truth of a life well-lived and honored is in the crinkles and creases that remain ... the imperfections that are loved and embraced.