On Seeing the Art in the World


Ocean“Life is a great big canvas. Throw all the paint on it you can.” – Danny Kaye

“I can’t draw a straight line, much less a painting,” I’ve said all my life.

And my artist friends have said back, “Anyone can,” while I have simply shaken my head, quietly knowing they have no idea.

And then, in mid-January, some girlfriends and I got this crazy idea to convene at Vino and Van Gogh where we had a little vino and were taught to paint a vase of flowers.

Since that night, I have not been able to stop drawing and painting. It has become a go to pass-time where I lose hours and hours in quiet spiritual time trying to understand what it takes to draw dimensions, to mix colors, to use different art mediums.

Since that night, I see the entire world differently. I stop on walks with my husband and friends and say, “Look at that flower!” “Look at the way the shadows drift over lawns and make the grass so many different colors.”

Since that night, I have appreciated the Divine more than ever before – amazed at the beauty around me all day long. I look more carefully at depths, shadows and colors and sometimes feel a little sad that I have hurried by most of my life like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, checking my watch ever mindful of the time, missing the sheer loveliness around me.

Recently, I apologetically shared a painting I did with an accomplished artist friend, saying, “It looks so amateurish,” to which he quickly responded, “Oh, I missed the part where you have become a professional artist.”

And a master artist, I realized, is not what I seek to be. However, what I appreciate about this fun new venture is how much I have learned.

Like I can paint a straight line and more.

Like I can use my brain to study and to begin to learn a new skill.

Like I see the world in a much more thoughtful and appreciative way.

Like the Divine loves us so much that She splashed beauty everywhere for our enjoyment. (And must it grieve Her that I have so long not paid more attention.)

So, I am going to look more carefully, splash more art on a canvas and be unconcerned about how it looks. Instead, I am going to relish the fact that it has opened my eyes more fully to this beautiful world and embrace the wonderful connection it gives me to The Greater Power.


The Joy of Migraines

The train began pulling out of the station when I woke up twice in the dark of the night screaming  that burglars were getting into our house.  After waking my husband, Trey,  up both times and getting reassured that the alarm was on and no one was in the house, I went back to sleep only to encounter a huge snake on the sidewalk writhing and changing colors like a chameleon.  Something  (the migraine) was pushing me down and I was falling on the snake when Trey woke me as I was screaming, “noooooo!”

Minutes later, the migraine train geared up and began to drive straight into my head as I stumbled to  my emergency pills.  Several hours later feeling a little better, Trey and I met a dear friend for lunch when the migraine descended enforce on me complete with flashing lights, nausea, and every little sound resonating like the clanging cymbals in the Tschaikowsky’s 1812 Overture.

For the benefit of those fortunate readers who have never experienced the searing pain and complete immobilization that a migraine  brings with delight to those it chooses to stop dead in our tracks, that is exactly what it does.

You write off the day. You turn out the lights. You get into the bed. You take emergency pills and you try to figure out whether you are more afraid that you will die or more afraid that you won’t die and instead must deal forever with the pain.

I did survive another one recently with the after effect leaving me feeling as one must feel after a long succession of 24 hour a day  partying.

I don’t believe it is the will The Divine that gives me these horrible but occasional assaults. Why  would anyone wish to believe in  a Divine Who would intentionally do that?

But I do believe that because the Divine gave me the free will to choose to suffer or to take the opportunity to climb into the bed, close the shades, cut down the lights, turn off all the electronic devices and simply surrender to the migraine’s unpredictable timeline.

The medicine helps. Thank goodness. But the timing and intensity is beyond its scope of control.

Usually, really always, I have things planned on the days that the uninvited antagonist  moves in.

But no matter…On these days, if I had an appointment with The Pope and President Obama themselves, I would have to reschedule.

Migraines don’t care  about my schedule, plans, responsibilities, who is depending on me for what. They are unconcerned that I have important things to do and don’t have time to be infirm.

So I am left with only one choice.  Complete and total white flag surrender.  Wave the flag, admit defeat and surrender. Say yes to the migraine and the inconvenience.  Say no to work, internet, music, food, reading, talking, previous plans.  Yes, to the dead stop that occurs in my life when this monster sets up shop in my head.

This time a friend helped me remember I am rich and blessed on even these days.  A comfortable bed and home to serve as my recovery quarters. A husband who will stroke my forehead,, cuddle,  bring me meds and water and Saltines and lay down beside me.

So, in the end, even though I never welcome gladly these days of unexpected intrusions, they give me the opportunity to be grateful for the  warmth, the love, the comfortable home and bed, the superstar husband and a safe and secure place  where I belong.

Pain is not a choice but suffering is. So  I have learned to surrender to the pain and choose not to suffer and to focus on the unexpected day of rest that is the floral arrangement of joy that a migraine affords. A complete and unexpected day of rest.

So at least my revenge is sweeter.