I Shall Be Whole by Al R. Young featured in Ensign Magazine
By Al R. Young
March 2011 Ensign inside back cover
The inside back cover of this month's Ensign Magazine features I Shall Be Whole, an original oil painting by Al R. Young, representing the woman healed by the Savior, as recorded in Luke 8: 43-48 and Matthew 9:20-22.
Here is a little bit about the painting's message, written by the artist:
Even though this painting portrays the woman who had an issue of blood, the scarlet color of her clothing and the light reflecting in the woman's countenance says something to all of us about our own problems.
We tend to see ourselves--even to define ourselves--in terms of our problems. We live with our problems day in and day out, night in and night out. We puzzle over them, pray about them, strive to solve them, wonder why we have them, and wonder if they will ever go away.
Our tendency to be preoccupied with our problems is so great that if we don't actually have a problem, we turn to our fears and occupy ourselves with worry and dread about problems we might have--defining ourselves in terms of our fears instead of our problems.
In reaching toward the hem of the Savior's garment, this woman is looking beyond her problem and reaching past it. This is a picture of what to do about a problem, any problem. This is a picture of all of us.
The woman in the painting appears at the massive base of a portal which, it can be rightly supposed, rises far above her; far above anything she has any hope of being able to reach. Furthermore, there is nothing in her immediate surroundings that is inviting, yielding, comforting, or reassuring. Even the stones are scarred with age and stories of abuse too dreadful to contemplate.
Nothing in the figure's built environment consists with her nature as a beloved child of our Heavenly Father. She is, in fact, in a traffic area where, if she remains, there is every reason to suppose she will be trodden down. Such is the universal and individual plight of mankind.
Knowing all of these things beforehand, our Heavenly Father sent Heaven down to us in the person of His Only Begotten Son. In the person of the Messiah, as well as in the person of his authorized servants, Heaven is here on earth, going about doing good.
In this painting, light is a poem about goodness, for light is not content to stay at home, so to speak, but must roam the world searching for people to help and heal. Light--just like genuine goodness--is always looking into the dark places of the world, searching for all the jewels of Heaven that may have fallen there and gotten lost.
Instead of trying to show how far we have fallen, in this fallen world, from the presence of that God who made us, and with whom we dwelt before we were born, the painting focuses on the fact that Heaven has come down to us, and but the faith to touch the hem of His garment is sufficient to heal.
When we see ourselves for what we really are, we realize that we are nothing. Our wisdom is folly. Our knowledge is ignorance. Our strength is weakness. Yet even in the depth of our pathetic extremity, if we turn to Him while He is near, and strive with all of our pathetic might to reach for Him; if all we can manage is the momentary touch of the hem of His garment, it will be enough.