Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Easing the Soul

I am drifting in a sea of memories. I wrap myself in the warmth of my past as I learn to cope with the unwanted pain of loss and the terrible inevitability of change unwanted and unasked for. I am looking for directions to the new road I travel. I am trying not to drown in sorrow and self-pity as this will not serve to light my path. I am seeking answers. Reading books. Asking friends. Wanting to begin my journey away from the pain of the place I am in.

This morning, I woke to a soft world of grey fog that turned the landscape into a black and white photo. Cold and gloomy; soft and dreamy; colorless and drab. I shivered with the damp as I drove towards work and wished myself back in bed, where I could close my eyes and escape the reality of the day. Suddenly, the world behind me exploded into a yellow warmth that made my eyes water as I looked back in the mirror. A hot bowl of melted gold had found an opening in the clouds and was shining its beacon at the world. Though the world around me remained grey...the sun's color not reaching much past the eastern sky...,the air filled with light and warmth and promise. In that moment, I realized that even on the darkest days, there will always be a light to guide us and fill our hearts with comfort.
In my heart, I hear laughter. I am twenty-five years younger, wrapped in the warm embrace of a summer day in Montana, fishing the Missouri River. We are together again, in love with life and in awe that we will soon be three. And for a moment, time stands still and we have the whole world ahead of us. And we are in love and nothing is impossible. Such is the power of light.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I have lost a good friend. A man who occupied my life for 27 years, first as a friend, then spouse and then friend again. The father of my son and a best friend, without whose encouragement, I would never have become the artist I am. His passing has left such a hole in my heart. I did not expect this pain. But then do we ever know what a part people play in our lives until they are no longer there? How you can miss such a simple thing as a daily email? Or his steadfast belief that I should quit this job I hate that pays the mortgage and dive in, head first, into supporting myself with my art? Everyone knows you have to pay the mortgage, don't they?

His passing has led me to take a hard look at my life. I have chased the "good" life. I have taken on responsibilities to lead a respectable life. I have a mortgage and a fairly new car. I go to work everyday, even though I have long lost my passion for what I do to pay the bills. I have a savings account, a 401K, health insurance and plans to retire in about 10 years. But what if I don't life that long? Or am struck down by a dibilitating disease or injury? Will those things still mean so much to me?

As I visited Ron in his hospice bed, dependent on everyone for all his needs, his regrets were not for his career or material possessions. It was for the things he had dreamed of doing but waited on while he worked and paid the mortgage. Spending time with his son, staying in touch with friends, working on his old cars, camping and fishing and all the things he dreamed of doing before his health made those things impossible to do. If he had it to do over again, he would have changed his priorities. And of his memories, those that he marveled at most, where the small things in life that he accomplished. Surviving hard Montana winters, hooking the big one, old sailor stories of foreign seas and watching the sun set from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

I'll be back to visit him. And after I pour a cup of coffee on his grave and sprinkle tobacco across the grass, I hope I can tell him I've learned the lessons he inadvertantly left behind. To be unafraid to follow my dreams. To enjoy each breath I'm am alloted in the pursuit of something meaningful to me. To accept others for who they are unconditionally and look beyond their exterior for the good within. And to avoid finding fault with who I am based on the expectations of others. Most of all I won't be waiting for that perfect moment anymore - it may be too late by the time that comes around.

When my time comes, I want to use his words for a perfect day - "now that was a good cup of coffee"!!