Quadroon Girl – Henry Mosler
I recently visited the Cincinnati Art Museum with a group of friends. As we wandered about, I struck off on my own, slightly detached from the others and drinking the exhibits in at my own pace. Being alone with my thoughts in a moment like this is one of my greatest joys, so I seized the opportunity for private reflection, my heart and mind laid bare before the Lord, alone. Art of any type beckons and undoes me into the presence of the God reflected there – the God Who Creates.
While wandering quietly and reflectively through the various galleries, I happened into one room where, from across the way, I caught a glimpse of the piece above. Spellbound, without a hope of resisting, I was suddenly before it and frozen. The name of the painting is “Quadroon Girl”, its creator Henry Mosler. The painting corresponds to a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which tells the girl’s story. The woman depicted is the illegitimate child of a slave owner. The slave owner, her own Father, sells her away into slavery, casting her from his presence and goodwill.
The face of the girl drew me in. Even from across the room, I recognized the familiar pallor of hopelessness and betrayal. Her downcast eyes cried out with rejection, despair, and desertion. Her dejected frame called to me, pulling me before her where I stood, gazing upon the woman whose arms lay crossed over her bosom, betrayed, enchained, brokenhearted. All at once, the stories of my Christian LGBT friends surged over me, one after another. I heard the tune that the painting sang out to me and it matched their song, “Why has my own Father sold me to bondage for a thing of my nature, a thing that enslaves me and casts me away from my own family?” The mournful cries of rejection sang out, “I begged him to accept me, but he has cast me aside. I remain bound.” The disbelieving grief in the midst of the betrayal, “Will he not free me? Will the one who gave me life sell me away and cast me off from himself, from my family?”
I stood staring at that painting for a long time. Externally I was frozen. Internally, I melted in tears before the Lord, crushed and shaken, calling out to him, “Father, hear the cries of the ‘quadroon girls.’ Do not forget your children, those who feel enslaved and sold off, betrayed by you, by their families, by their own blood.”
Not every LGBT Christian feels this way, of course, but I’ve talked to so many who have at one point in their history felt betrayed by God, cast away from their families (spiritual or biological), and enslaved to a piece of their nature, an orientation they desperately wanted to change but could not.
So, this one is for you out there, you who have spent every night crying yourself to sleep and begging the Lord to remove your attractions and to change your sexual orientation. This one is for you out there, you who have read the Scriptures with horror, believing they describe you as one who is not good enough to belong to the company of those who inherit the Kingdom of God. This one is for you out there, you who believe you’ve been sold into slavery away from the inheritance you should be entitled to as sons and daughters of the Master. This one is for you out there, you who have felt that your very creator has cast you aside because you don’t have “enough” of his nature.
Unlike the quadroon girl there is hope for you, because your Father is not the slave-owner.
Your Father sees you and wants you.
Your Master maintains a designated place for you in His kingdom which will remain empty without your presence. He who gave you life will not forsake you.
Your place is not in the bottom decks of a slave ship.
Your place is unshackled, in the arms of your Master.
You are not the quadroon girl, cast away from his presence.
You are his Beloved. There is a place for you in the embrace of the King.
Who do you know that feels like the quadroon girl?
LOVE boldly, with the favor of the King.