Monks and Visions

February 22nd, 2015 | Posted by Barbara Belknap in Gather the Women

GTWWomenBurmaSmallBurma I had a vision in 2007 and I painted it. First and last time I’ve ever done that, but I have had the painting on the wall in “the room of my own”*, unframed and a little crumpled, ever since. In 2007, when the Army in Burma was attacking Buddhist monks, there was an image on television of ordinary people shielding the monks from harm. That vision would not leave my mind so I decided to put it on paper.

The Grandchildren and/or Visiting Kids Supplies are in the closet in my office/sanctuary. In plastic bins under my slacks, jackets, and dressy clothes are crayons, paints and a roll of brown wrapping paper to paint on, giant pads of paper, some well-worn matchbox cars, and other fun stuff. That day in 2007, I brought out the pad of paper and paints, pulled that vision out of my heart, and moved it from my heart to the paper. I saw Clare Peterson there with her beautiful raven hair, holding up her hand and saying, “Stop.” A Burmese woman was there in a long green robe reaching out to a monk, her hair covered by her veil. Then I put myself in the middle facing the monks, my back to the soldiers. My arms are outstretched and I am a human shield as they walk by saying their prayers. On television, there was lots of blood, so I put blood on the ground.

When my painting dried, I put it away in the closet. A few years ago, I brought it out and put it where I can see it every day. Now, I think of the women in the Middle East, their hair covered, faces often obscured, moving through the streets in burkas or black robes, desperately trying to protect their children and themselves from the mayhem. Most women have huge helpings of empathy in our spirits. It’s a “there but for the grace of God go I” kind of thing. I feel, without a shadow of a doubt, that women will save the world. We just need to hurry.

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