The Artist's Way
It's amazing to me that we are at the end of week eleven. On one hand, our journey seems to have only started yesterday and yet when I sit back and think of all that has happened over the course of the past twelve (we, or I added an extra week)weeks, I am in awe of all that has happened. Our time together ends next week, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, most of whom I will probably never know, for allowing me to take this journey with you. Thank you for pushing me along when I needed a little extra encouragement to keep going. Each week as I check in, I share personal stories but I still try to keep them some what neutral as I hope that it will spark something in you that you need and that you are not just reading my story. During the past twelve weeks I have taken steps that I never thought I would take and to be honest never even realized were a possibility. I am very grateful for taking these steps as they have wiped away the fog and in some cases, shown a light on things that were so dark that I could not see. As I shared when we began, this is my third time to take this journey and it has proved to be the most powerful.
This was one of my most difficult weeks. Each morning I did show up and I did do my morning pages, but each morning I had a thousand reasons not to write. It held true that when we are struggling the most, a break through is about to happen, and it did. It came about very simply. On Friday night my husband and I watched the show, "Who Do You Think You Are?" The program, if you have not seen it, is basically an hour long commercial for ancestry.com, but it is quite interesting. This past week Rita Wilson, who is married to Tom Hanks, traced back information about her father who died a few years ago. She was shocked to find out just how horrible and difficult his life had been before he came to America. What touched her was that despite all of the horrible experiences, he remained a man who was gentle, kind and most of all, devoted to his family. The story prompted me to talk and I said to my husband, "you know, I just don't understand, if I had a daughter like me, I would be so very proud to call her my daughter." The next morning when I sat down to write, my words came back to me. As I wrote, I realized that if I had a daughter that was like me, yes I would be proud to call her my daughter, but yet, I find nothing about myself to be proud of. I can very quickly list all of the things I am not, all of the things I have not accomplished. So I asked myself, what is it about me that the mother in me would be proud of? I am generous, I love nothing more than to make someone smile, I have great compassion for others. As I thought about the qualities that I liked and respected, not a one of them had anything to do with accomplishments.
This week we read that it is important for us to just do what we are meant to do whether it brings fame and fortune or not. Last week we read that fame is not the same as success.
A scripture passage came to me as I thought on Saturday;
"You can buy two sparrows for a penny; yet not a single one of them falls to the ground without your Father's consent. As for you, even the very hairs of your head have all been counted. So, do not worry, you are worth so much more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31.
I once shared that the richest place on earth is the cemetery. There you will find books that were never written, paintings that were never painted, music that was never shared. Yes, we all need to pay our mortgage, buy food and clothe ourselves, but we also need to do whatever it is that we were meant to do. If it brings fame and fortune while we are alive, great, but how many artists have died penniless only for their work to be discovered and then celebrated long after they were gone?
As I thought about the scripture that I shared, I also thought of the song that Mahalia Jackson sang so beautifully. The story of her life has tragedy as all of our lives do, and yet great triumph. She could have made much greater sums of money had she given in and sang the more popular songs of the time, but she remained true to what she felt her calling was and the song, "His Eye Is On The Sparrow," became her signature song. I have included the video below. It's very old, but beautiful nonetheless.
Have a wonderful week.