A few weeks ago, I began a new post category of Forget-Me-Not Words. Especially those that inspire Beauty… Hope… Light!
Perhaps I’ve heard or read them – somewhere- before. Only to have them float out of memory as a will o’ wisp. So when I come upon these flowerets in my reading (particularly in my favorite British novels) . I want to pluck them, place them in a freshwater vase…here…for you.
Today… the word is…
To Limn (verb): to draw or paint (either through words or art), to outline, delineate with sharp detail; to describe a scene so vividly as to make someone feel they can see it.
Origin: Middle English limnen to illuminate (a manuscript), probably back-formation from lymnour illuminator, alteration of lumenur, from Anglo-French aluminer, enluminer to illuminate, ultimately from Latin illuminare. First Known Use: 1592
“Day followed day and I scarcely noticed how they passed. I was enthralled by the task of editing Garth’s book. I went with him step by step upon his journey, I shared his vigils, shared his discomforts, shared his keen enjoyment of the beauties which had encompassed him. I grew to know his companions through Garth’s eyes… they were all alive and vivid — Garth had limned them in a few words. “
~ D.E. Stevenson, The Young Clementina
The image I am dreaming of is like a breeze ruffling through tiny, sunshiny dresses and sailor boy bloomers. Billowing them up, up, up – like giggling girls and boys on a swing – to chase, to reach, to touch the clouds! The sky is blue upon blue. The air clear and crisp and fresh-launder-scented. And in the lilt of happy, chattering birdsong I feel… merry!
“Limning,” I see then, smiling at the thought that God has just…limned… a picture across my mind. So vividly, my fingers itch to draw a new childhood-reminiscent note card with this simple scene. Can I limn it for others, make them feel such a… mmm… flash of springtime joy?
Can You make my words, my art, do that too? I silently sing heavenwards.
Warmth, like butter melting over golden pancakes, spreads over me with a life-stemming reminder.
The world is looking for my living epistles. To read Me and find Me in you…(and you… and you too!) I want to be the Companion others get to know through your eyes… alive and vividly drawn through the Words and pictures I limn of who I AM… in you… through you…
[Like Garth's writing limned for Charlotte, in D.E.'s The Young Clementina, I see then. Illuminating with joy.]
Like the wind billowing through your soul and sending another up to touch the clouds!
In gifts and dreams I place in your hands, yes.
But also…In everyday moments… in your eyes… in gracious words to a harried stranger.
It is then I remember recent times when disgruntled feelings got the best of me. Of just wanting things the way I want them. Of not even thinking about windows and doors God might want to open as encouragement to someone else – because it’s too easy to be caught up in necessities of life that keep me from seeing.
O Father, Holy Spirit, forgive me… illuminate and remind me in every day. “In my vigils, in my discomforts and in my joys, in the keen enjoyment of beauties you encompass round me” — may my life ever be, a living, limning, letter of You.
I particularly love the origin of illuminate to this word, limn.
In what way would you like God to limn His letter -
like a breeze through someone’s window-
through you today?
© Pam Depoyan
breezy window photo source: rebekahknight.blogspot.com
flower photo: fotosearch.com
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