Click to enlargeWe asked Diné silversmith Rebecca Begay to talk about this extraordinary concho belt. Featured below is Rebecca’s generous sharing of her story.
This concho belt titled: "God's faithfulness amid life's complexity & delicacy" is a metaphorical story of a season of my life, in comparison to a butterfly's life.
For the past 5 1/2 years I've struggled with thyroid disease, including chronic issues of hypothyroidism, Graves' disease & hypoparathyroidism. This quickly led to other complications due to rare side effects that almost took my life in the summer of 2012, and my thyroid had to be surgically removed. During surgery, my parathyroids were damaged. I also suffered a chemical imbalance in 2014 that lasted for about 2 years which was very difficult for me physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually. However, as a Christian, my faith, hope & trust in God & His son Jesus, were and have been my main source of strength, comfort, hope, and joy. I also believe God will completely heal me & restore those glands back to me in His time.
For this concho belt, I chose to portray my life using the butterfly. The cherry blossoms, hands & other images will also be explained & described for each concho of my story.
The butterfly represents myself for several reasons. It represents a new creation, a new life as the caterpillar becomes a butterfly similarly an unbeliever can become a Christian as the Bible says: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come..." 2 Corinthians? 5:17?. I became a Christian years ago. ???The actual lifespan of a butterfly, is brief, living only for 2 to 6 weeks, and I've come close to death & know how delicate life is. The actual thyroid gland, which I currently don’t have, is in the neck area & shaped like a butterfly. A butterfly is hardworking, beautiful & unique as we are as human beings. It fulfills its duty, accomplishes what it was created for no matter how short its lifespan. It lives life to the fullest in an excellent manner as I strive & hope to live.
I also chose to portray cherry blossoms. They have a very brief blooming period of 2 weeks at the most. If rough weather doesn't end it soon enough also representing the delicacy of life just like the verses in Psalm? 103:15-16? in the Bible say: "The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone..."?
As for the hands, they represent God's hands. It was also by the grace of God that not only was I saved years ago, but more recently, spared.
Here are each concho's metaphorical representations:
Click to enlarge1st concho/buckle- The butterfly buckle is actually the last part, the "final product" of a butterfly in all its glory, glorified. As Christians, we believe we will have a glorified body when Christ returns (free of suffering & flaws) just as Jesus' body is now after his resurrection.
2nd concho - The caterpillar is portrayed along with a cocoon to illustrate the transitioning process to a butterfly on a cherry blossom branch just as I a non-believer became a Christian through heart acceptance of Jesus.
3rd concho - The depiction of complete transition to a butterfly ready to begin its new life, ready to fly. Similar to myself, a new Christian, ready to learn & grow in my new-found faith.
4th concho - The new life of the butterfly doing what it was created to do, pollinating & reproducing just as myself began living a new life when I became a Christian years ago & am trying to do my best at being a Christian, wife, mother, artist, etc.
5th concho - As a butterfly can end up being caught in a spider's web & "broken", near death or even killed by its enemy, in this portrayal, the spider, the hand of God comes down & rescues the butterfly.
Similarly disease, brokenness, pain, fear, even the shadow of death, the enemy/devil came upon my life and had me entrapped for a while but the hand of God lifted me out & spared & rescued me.
6th concho - God's hands are covering the butterfly just as God's loving hands covered me, comforted me, strengthened me, with promises of grace, healing, restoration, joy & renewal.
7th concho - God's hands uncovering & revealing a fully healed & restored & joyful butterfly which are promises God gave to me of healing, restoration & joy that I'm waiting on.
8th concho - The hand of God releasing the restored butterfly having been given a second chance to do & be what it was created to do & be, free to fly once again just I was given a second chance at life, a second chance to be who I was created to be.
Rebecca T. Begay
Big thanks to Studio Seven Productions in Albuquerque for beautiful photography!
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