In some ways I've been given a unique opportunity in this life. I've been forced to face mortality on two fronts. First my own when doctors were completely baffled by my symptoms and my health slowly declined over a 3-year period. Death was a very real possibility. Secondly, the sudden passing of my husband earlier this year in a traffic accident. The range of emotions I've experienced and my need to understand them have given me great insight into myself. Facing my own mortality went a long way in preparing me emotionally before losing my husband. I honestly don't think I would have survived it with my sanity intact if I hadn't already learned that I had emotional strength (I had previously thought myself weak). I had hope. I had a belief that not only did a future exist, but a future where I could be happy again.
I initially thought that my lesson was to appreciate the NOW. To take each day as it came and make the minutes count. I still think this is valid, but for me personally, I need more. I could drive myself crazy worrying about time wasted and only succeed in making myself sicker in the process. Time where I could be doing something more important. Time where I could be making a difference. What I need is to continue to believe in a future. To work toward long-term goals. This is where I have always excelled and I believe it was my saving grace. It will also allow me be less obsessive about the day-to-day. I can relinquish control over each second of each minute. Though precious, those seconds can be grasped so tightly and infused with such importance that they lose their joy.
I've watched other people pass in and out of my life, floundering. Not knowing what they were meant to do. Not knowing what makes them happy or where their passion lies. I've always known and realized how fortunate I was to know. I was an artist. From a small child I worked to perfect my ability and made it my life's passion.
It was simple for me.
I am an artist.
When I was sick, I kept painting even when my hands shook so bad that the brush skipped over the board. It was a needed escape from the pain and worry. After Tom died, I kept painting. It brought joy back in the midst of loss.
A few years ago, I painted Tom standing on a tower of rocks looking across a vast, nearly barren plain. I called it "Looking to His Past." I believe you need to understand the past before facing the future. I'm glad Tom nor I knew the limited scope of his future. I am thankful for the time we had together. I will never forget it, but now I'm moving toward a new future, not the one that I had planned. I've been forced to adapt, but I CHOOSE to be happy.
In looking to my future, I'm assigning myself a task. I've decided to undertake a year-long project and focus on a single subject. This is an idea I've entertained before, but it seems to have more urgency now. I know I NEED to do this even if I can't explain the why in any sort of rational manner.
If you know my work, you might suspect that I get bored with a subject easily. I do. I bounce from landscapes, to florals, to animals to interiors and more, but there is once I keep coming back to...the grasses. They exemplify quiet and peace to me. Nothing is so soothing as standing before a field of endless wild grasses watching them sway in slightest breeze. Mesmerizing. They allow you to glimpse the wind. The patterns ever changing across their expanse. An ocean in their own right. I will paint the grasses and let their calm wash over me.