Change is certain. I've been painting this house as it has been rebuilt after a serious fire. I have painted about 20 paintings of it. I like to notice and document, through my paintings, the changes. Sometimes I felt impatient when I saw no changes. Then I realized changes were happening inside the house that I could not see. My last painting had a "for sale" sign on it. I figured it was done. No more changes. Then I thought that the new owners would certainly make changes. Maybe they would make paint color changes inside, furniture, decorations, and then moving furniture around from time to time. So even if the rebuild part is complete (for now) there will still be constant and certain changes. It was reassuring and comforting to me. Sometimes I think I should be finished and arrived at some place of adulthood. But I am not finished. I continue to learn new things, have old wounds heal, gain some new ideas and attitudes. I can celebrate being unfinished.
I have written about "change" for a lot of months. I see the theme of this blog--"letting it go" a lot like change. Nothing is constant and trying to hold on is not useful. So goes the story behind this painting. The two blue coffee mugs were sitting on the desk where our computer is. I drink tea, so I knew the mugs were not mine. I was annoyed that they were staying there, and I didn't want to remove them. Days went by while I tried to ignore the mugs. Then I saw the nice way the light, mugs, plant, and other junk went together. I decided to do a painting. When I paint from real life, I take out my art supplies to work and put them away until the next time I paint. Well I was well underway on the painting and feeling calm about the mugs. Then one day I planned to paint, the mugs were gone. Someone had put them in the dishwasher. Well, to be able to finish the painting I had to take two clean mugs out of the cabinet and place them on the desk. My resentments were gone, and I found lightness and humor in finishing this painting.
This was our pharmacy basket many years ago. There were vitamins, medications for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), asthma medications, inhalers, and I think, something for headaches or fevers. I don't have a pharmacy basket anymore. Some of the ADHD has moved out of the house, and the ADHD that is still here is being handled with other types of adjustments or frustration or both. I think I may have too many things I am trying to focus on (not uncommon for ADHD). I have let go of one responsibility, and am considering adjusting others. I like that my life is full and am grateful for many, many things in which I can participate. I want to give good attention to the things that matter to me most. It is a hard process of evaluating and praying and thinking about where I want to put my focus.
Sometimes I think I am not enough; or, that I don't have enough; or, that something or someone else is not enough. Perhaps that feeling is common. I think of the story in the Bible about Jesus feeding a big crowd with a boy's lunch of five loaves and two fish. That lunch certainly didn't look like enough. I can't imagine expecting anything to eat if I were in that crowd. The story says the people were satisfied and there were leftovers. When I am in the "not enough" mode, it helps me to think about what I do have. Sometimes I go through the alphabet thinking of several things for each letter that I am grateful for--"A" apples, animals, asparagus, Alice; "B" bananas, babies, b vitamins, .... It is a risk to trust that what I have and who I am will be enough. This painting is also on the home page. I put it there when I first put out this website. It reminded me of a trust exercise to put it out there and trust God. It is still growing and changing, but I'm glad I took the risk.
I painted this in 2003 during recovery from Guillain-Barre Syndrome. That year I learned how to drive a wheel chair, use a walker, then canes, and to walk unaided again. I was reminded of this painting because my husband had to use crutches for a time after an accident. And now I am limping from a sore toe that I stubbed last week. And I know some other people facing surgeries, recovery, and interrupted plans. I am glad for tools, like this walker, to aid in times of impairment. My time of impairment helped me to have gratitude for things I had taken for granted--including blinking, walking, balance, sight, muscles that work, calm nerves, ability to eat, sleep, and use the toilet. I am grateful for recovery that happens sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. One day at a time.
This painting is from 20 years ago, yet I can still feel its relevance in my life. I'm preparing for a trip and want to wash everything, including my sneakers, and pack, yet I won't need everything, and I need clothes to wear before I go away. I can wear things now that I won't take on the trip. So timing is a challenge. When do I wash stuff and pack. And how important are what to bring and not bring? Will a shirt get too wrinkled? Is something too warm or cool? Does it look good on me? Do I have enough underwear? Socks? I have piles laid out on the spare bed as I sort through my thoughts as well as my clothing. I am overwhelmed and excited to be going away. It is also a comfort to know I will be back home again and do laundry.
Getting older is change. I hope I can age gracefully. One of my grandmothers aged to 97 years old. She lived with my family from when she was in her early 80s. Aging for her didn't always look easy, but it was also amazing to see her and hear her. I have some aches and pains that I'm guessing have to do with aging. I do some things that help me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I think I could do more. I ask God for gratitude, balance, and serenity. I don't know the couple walking in this painting. They are aging. I hope they have courage and grace.
The burned out house I posted on my blog October 20, 2017, is now in major repair. The old roof was completely taken off and this new roof was put on. The new roof is a different shape, and I think it is adding another level to the house. I see the changes each time I walk my dog by the house. Little by little it is being repaired and renovated. Sometimes I feel impatient to see how it, or a certain phase, will turn out. Wait and watch are all I can do.
Walking around Boston with my son, his wife, and his in-law family a few years ago, we enjoyed Faneuil Hall Market Place with street artists and performers, among other things. Now with a little one added to his family, all our roles have changed. Now there's Mama, Dada, Aunties, Uncles, Nanita, Abuelo, Grampy, and Grammy. I think we are adapting well, and I'm grateful for the new addition to the family and our new roles.
Moving is stressful. Not moving is stressful. This painting is from one of my last moves in about 1994. I'm not moving now, so I can imagine that sorting and packing and throwing away stuff would be a good thing. If I were moving, I may not feel that way. Stuff has accumulated because I haven't moved in a while. Stuff is such a strange problem for a small part of the world. I don't want to be a slave to my stuff. I pray for perspective and willingness to let go.
LeTtiNg iT gO...BLoG
Linda T. Hurd. I don't feel like a real writer or artist, but I am both.