Surviving Through Art (And A Little Humour)

 


I want to discuss my sister, briefly, in the safest way I can. The majority of ex-Message Believers I’ve connected with know her more than they know me, because I was gone at 16. So you - if that's you - you'll know who I'm referring to. You’ll agree she is the kindest, gentlest soul.


My heart aches as I realize all she's been through. I wish I could save her but when I try to show her the newspaper articles or the history archives revealing the facts on Branhamism, she tells me “Becky, it makes me happy,” with the saddest eyes. While reading Charity Rissler’s recent memoir and how she managed the confusion of  her Message childhood through art, I'm reminded of Josephine. Her talents always fascinate me. I believe that although she never escaped the cult, she's past the worst times of her life and has gained some independence. So here’s an artistic visual into her past. Our past, despite each of our quirks and different paths. We shared the same family, the same home, the same pain, and sisterly bond. 


We’re forever connected.


Here I will share her screen shot art and some of my poems, a small window revealing the hope that lit up our hearts in the bleakest moments. Yes, it’s a much lighter subject matter than my earlier posts.






The first is clairvoyant?!! Could anyone have guessed that this picture would hold significance in the toilet paper shortage of 2020? She sketched this odd piece as a young child during the mid 90s. When the pandemic lockdown hit in March, she uncovered it from inside her art supplies. Joel and I definitely had a laugh. 






 




The next is a sketch of my older brother in a school photograph, taken before my parents pulled my siblings out of ‘wordly education.’ The original I haven’t seen in years.







And this one, the face of William Branham, seeming more joyful than in any other picture of him I’ve come across. 






I’m amazed at these puppets she designed from our mother’s sewing scraps and various other items she salvaged. I was not allowed to touch them. They are very gawdy in Message terms and they’re wearing a little makeup? I love that she was able to express herself and surprisingly, without criticism. 













Then, there’s the tragic story of a green monster thing, shot to death with ten bullet wounds. We hadn’t heard of the Farm yet and lived in a dingy area ridden with crime when her inspiration struck. Here goes another snort and a snicker on my part! It’s pretty morbid. 








My Lovely Creations



There’s a good story behind this one but it’s not entirely artistic. This was my Sunday purse, poor waif that I was, and I replaced its missing arm strap with bit of yarn, straight from the cat’s mouth, I’m sure. It held special memories so I couldn’t part with it, serving as a hiding place for the baby finch I saved and brought into Church Service, chirping it’s heart out. I remember getting looks but no one suspected. Or did they?






As you can see, my sister takes the cake. I didn’t get far with sewing or drawing. (I once drew a detailed picture of a frog leaping over a pond on a huge canvas but halfway through I realized it was too large to fit the legs into the scene. I was left with peaceful pond ripples, lily pads, and a frog’s belly, more or less. And no screen shot to prove it.)


I more so enjoyed art in word form and will share just a portion of that with you, provided you don’t run for the hills. 




A Love Letter

 

Darling, thy hair is like a red sore 
They freckles, they shine like dirt puddles
Thine eyes, thine eyes, reflect the mud floor
Thy cheeks are fatter than bubbles
Thy posture is humped
On thy head is a bump
And thy voice likens unto a boar
Plainest, thine arms, they stick out like hairpins
Thy warts hold no worldy appeal
Thy breath smells much like the trashbin
In pity thy suitors shall reel
My sweet dearest love at morning
Thou lookest thy loveliest best
Thy figure resembles a well-fed hen
And thy hair resembles it's next



Rude, I know.
Just an awkward pre-teen dreaming of romance. This next one hurts now on a personal level.





Time



There was a man from Time's own clock

Who was a thief by trade

He stole the weeks, the months, the years

And soon he stole your age

 

He promised doom upon those who lived

Wrinkles came afar by night

Folds and flab and missing hair

Were found in morning's light

 

And just to add on to this crime

Remind us day by day

He encouraged us to invent the mirror

To see the horror made


Beware, beware, he's quick and fast

Before you blink an eye

He adds on belly 'neath that belt

And makes you crave that pie

 

No king no gent has caught him yet

He's known to rob them blind

To Hell with legs, he gives them canes

And steals away their mind

 

I know there're men who robbed the bank

Were never found nor caught

The same with time would happen still

If you tied it in a knot

 

We'd spit out quick those plastic teeth

Hearing aids we'd throw

Content and smug to be alive!

Who cares if those gums show?

 

Up from the bed, all flailing arms

Imagine, no single birthday!

We'd hold our head so it wouldn’t fall off

And share the news with Bernie!!

 

All shivering limbs and jawbones

We'd take each careless step

One slip and on the pavement

We'd fall and break our neck

 

If time were done and then as well

We in our age stood still

The jolt itself would knock us flat

Like bugs beneath Time's wheel

 


 Ugh, sorry if you’re male......



Boys 

  

Tadpoles, mud holes, slimey goopy muck
Green worms, spleen worms, writhing leeches suck
Fat boys, lots of noise, grinning crooked teeth
Filthy hair, reeky air, splashing muddy feet
Muddy pigs, messy digs, snorting loudly they
Streams of sewer, gooier n’ gooier, in the slop alay
      
Running home, shrieks and moans, they await their fate
Squished bugs, trampled rugs, Mother’s gone irate 
Worms all dead, a fish's head, from their boxer’s crawl
Wriggling pockets, bug-eyed sockets, Mother sees it all
With a spoon, a wooden broom, she runs them to the hoses
Muddy pools, speckled ghouls, with dirty sneezing noses
Mud-soaked floors, slamming doors, away from Mother's dread
Screeching shouts, whimpered pouts, they crawl into the bed
Piled laundry, dirty laundry, hold your nose beware
Stinky toes, there he goes, into his stinky lair



On a more serious note, I thought this might show our resilient mindset during that time. We still remain very strong people and laugh our way to happiness, finding expressions that distract or heal. Hope you could chuckle, too.



Nature’s Tears


Silent ghost-white birch trees, standing bare and tall

Nature wakes and listens for that far away lone call

The frozen world in frost-bit jaws, quivers in the sun

Mist in sparkles glisten, as they see the darkness run

In hidden glades and forests, life repeats its test

And lurking in the shadows, is hunger’s starving guest

Rivers watch, slow their course, as dawn reveals the prey

The wings of death beat closer, and snatch its breath away

Clouds are gathering quickly, in mounds of endless pink

In a cave beside the water brook, wild eyes stare and blink

Through the dome of falling skies, rain like nature’s tears

Drop by drop remind us, that Mother Nature hears

In a cave beside the brook, the blood is washed away

But from a dripping lonely flower, remains a scarlet stain

The wild thing is lurking still, down by the valley stair

Nature sends down through the wind, the warning to beware




The last poem I’m sharing was likely influenced by Branham’s love of the majestic eagle. He constantly stressed their significance, how that the rest of the world were chickens and the Bride of Christ were eagles. I didn’t quite know what it meant, I just let the words flow. Now I look back, and my childish rhymes give so much depth to who I was and who I longed to be. 



Farseeing Eyes

 

I looked with farseeing eyes
I stood on the dividing brink
Here I saw the crashing tide
Against the silent beach
Beyond the floors of white
Far over the crest of blue
The tug of the distant sky
Was pulling, pulling me through
A myriad of feathers
As complex as the sea
Soar up within the vault
Of endless air and breeze
I held onto the lifeline
Whose anchor is in the cloud
I floated through a blur
And cries were piercing loud
I heard the cry of freedom
The clash of falling chains
Close under the wing of Heaven
We glide through misty lanes
Eye to eye with Nature
I feel its beating heart
The curved beak now opens
And whispers in the dark
It spoke of unheard secrets
To lift the spirit, mend
Of how to spread the unseen wing
And find a rainbow’s end
Like the crashing wave tide lunging
Toward the sandy shore
I flew across the dividing line
On wings where eagles soar


 


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