Each day is a new day to begin again. The morning light grows brighter and energizes me. As I sweep the porch, I think my love of G+d, the Holy of Holies. Thinking on the task before me as another year passes, questions arise. What does it mean to be an artist who is untrained, but called by G+d to be a …an artist? A sound of glass tinkles on the floor and I see a disk of mirror lost from its strand of chimes.
The glass reminds me of the story of a woman creating a stained-glass window. Each time she wrought the thing to perfection, something broke it and the word of G+d told her to begin again. The first fifty times I read that story it made no sense. Then one day, after I had been broken enough myself, I finished the story and said “Ahhh.” I understood and in that understanding, did not want to begin again.
When one has been broken so many times, a tiredness and a dread seep in along with the question, “Why am I still here?” The only answer? “Begin again.” So, I have and now I do yet again. One day at a time, one breath at a time, I begin again…and again. One step in front of the other to a place without a name.
I take leave of the painting in the bathroom. It is a mural I am working on to cover up the previous owner’s scribbling in brown. Though pleased with what has come out so far, I don’t know where the painting is going? Meant to be “whimsical” I find that I crave the realism of botanists or the expressionism of Diego Rivera. When it veers into the surrealism of Dali, I quickly paint over the nightmare of errors.
Gathering up newspapers that protect the floor, I think of how the painting process is similar to the process of life. Trial and error. Learn by doing. There are times one must simply tidy up and wait for inspiration or direction to show the next step. As I put the broom into the closet, I am aware of a painting started on the death of my marriage. The painting is staring at me from the easel. I am damn tired of painting that one. There’s no way to express the pain of being cut out of someone’s life. At least not until more distance occurs between the subject and the object. I need a different perspective and don’t have it now. Maybe I need to put it in the closet with the broom although I swore never to return to a closet again.
Several times have thought of destroying the painting. Yet, what good would that do really? An expression of violence doesn’t heal or repair the wound of the heart, mind, and soul. As a result, I’ve continued to struggle with the painting just as I’ve struggled with grief. None are immune to grief, loss, pain. Though not alone in humanity’s struggle with grief, each person’s experience is unique and that sometimes isolates us.
It doesn’t have to be that way…or does it? My cousin grieves over the loss of her husband. Sudden death is traumatic to any who are confronted with it. Writing that she doesn’t have to bear it alone it’s also clear that I am unsure how to shoulder any of her pain. The same goes for the grief carried by my own sister who grieves a grandchild who lived for only an hour. How do we help each other bear the weight of grief?
In my own experience, I can only say that the cards, the notes helped. Though the weight of grief could not truly be shouldered by another, words are a comfort to me. Touch was too personal. A promise of presence required too much of my trust. But words, words reminded me of who I was and the strength I have inside. Songs reminded me that the power of singing heals. Worship always reminds me of something greater than myself or humanity.
The sunlight shifts in the forest to brighter light. Yet, the shifting of the light also casts shadows in different places. Sometimes I want to burn with the fire of the holy in my life. Other times, it is good to rest in the shade and listen to the birds. I have no songs today, but the birds sing for me. There is movement sounding from the road below me; a reminder that humanity moves on down the road. I know I can too. Then, I laugh at the universe as it sends me a message via email.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”