Saturday, March 10, 2007

Akiane

I don’t know if you’ve heard of the 12-year-old child prodigy, Akiane Kramarik. She is rather well-known, if website hits are any indication (150 million annually). I heard of her a couple years ago, but didn’t pay close attention until a friend recently lent me a book about her. Any little kid whose artwork is good enough to sell paintings for over $100,000 apiece ought to attract some attention, but there is much more to her than that.

She was raised by unbelieving parents, never even heard the word “God,” was homeschooled and didn’t have a TV. One day, when she was four, she told her mother, “Today I met God.” Her mother asked her how she knew it was God. She replied, “Just like I know you are my mommy, and you know I am Akiane.” Then, “Who even taught you such a word, God?” “You won’t understand.” That marked the beginning of a series of heavenly visions and gifts from the Lord, primarily in art and poetry. She began with drawings when she was four and five, and began painting when she was six. Many of her paintings by age eight and nine were at least as good as those of professional artists of many years’ experience. Akiane never had any training in art. She painted what she saw, and she did it to draw people to God. The picture here is her self-portrait (age 11), in which she saw herself as working with God in the creation of beauty. You can see more of her paintings by clicking here.

The following are just a few stanzas from her poem, “Conversation with God,” written when she was eight years old. Quite incredible!

I receive an envelope with the seal of Your lips
As I am waiting for You I get covered with dust
My heavy rope is full of holes and now it’s in a cast
But why are Your gates always higher than us

As we used to talk to each other before
The depth for notions true friendship deepens
Would you tear the tears from my salty fists
The leftovers of my house are just the seeds…

When questions question the questions
The docile answer kneels gently on dull knife
When I see You, Lord, my eyes do not blink
For if I blinked I would lose my whole life

Can I still grow up in the same womb
Can I hide inside your whitest hair
You say the narrow mind passes the answers
And whoever screams cannot see or hear

I see Your hands without the wrinkles, bones, or veins
Just the maps, just events, just the worlds, just the time
I see the waterfalls full of songs under stairs by Your feet
The poems whisper by the millions from Your mouth in rhyme…

I’d like to share a couple of things she described from her visions of Heaven. Her parents had wondered why she cried and refused to listen any kind of music they would play in their home (she was five at the time). She said, “…the music that I hear in heaven is better than here. This music hurts my ears and my head really bad, but heavenly music is always gentle. I can’t tell you how different it is from what you hear on earth! It feels like joy, looks like love, smells like flowers, and dances like butterflies. Music there is alive! You can even taste it.”

About one of her meetings with God (at eight years old), she said, “I was with God again, and I was told to pray continually. He showed me where He lived, and it was so light… I was climbing transparent stairs; underneath I saw gushing waterfalls. As I approached my Father in paradise, His body was pure light. What impressed me most were his gigantic hands—they were full of maps and events. Then He told me to memorize thousands upon thousands of wisdom words on a scroll that didn’t look like paper but more like intense light. And in a few seconds I somehow got filled up. He showed me the endless universe, its past and its future, and He told me that from now on I needed to get up very early and get ready for my mission. I hope one day I’ll be able to paint what I’ve been shown” (all quotes are from Akiane: her life, her art, her poetry, by Akiane and Foreli Kramarik).

I think it is beneficial and encouraging for us to receive a few glimpses of Heaven through the pure eyes of a child. She could never have learned what she did, not only in art and poetry, but also in the awareness of God and his heavenly mysteries, without a special grace from on high. We tend to get so caught up in the cares of life, or our own troubles and preoccupations, that we lose sight of the One Thing Necessary. It is then that a four-year-old girl walks up to us and says, “Today I met God,” and our own forgotten longing for Paradise is rekindled. We may even hear within our hearts a faint echo of the music of Heaven. We must renew our search, realize we are on pilgrimage, and lay aside all that makes us grow old in selfishness, all that makes us give up on the promises of God. For delight and wonder beyond all measure await us in those extra-large hands of his!

I hope and pray that Akiane will not be adversely affected by her growing fame, and that she will continue to use her gifts to glorify God and draw others to Him. Her ingenuous faith and her passion for her art—along with her incredible talent—can make her an effective instrument in the hand of her Lord. Would that hardened hearts be broken open by the words and images of a child whose eyes have seen the light of Paradise!