There is a tension…..a relational tension. I need people, yet people let me down. There are times that I feel so misunderstood that it seems better to keep all the really important stuff to myself. When I do that- go into self-protective mode- I numb, or try to avoid all the bad; but I really end up going into a task mode. I am getting lots done, feeling productive, but sadly the good feelings that I long for, love and acceptance, are not there either. I can go a while thinking “I am doing great” ...until I can’t.
I am stretched with this new piece. Sometimes it takes a bit for me to know what my piece needs next. I have been projecting my blind contours on the canvases. I have never done multiple layers of projection. When I project the drawing, its size on the canvas enlarges or shrinks based on how far the projector is from it. I started with the lawnmower and sunflowers, then moved to the tank, guitar, and bicycle. It is surprising that the piece seems too small to fit everything I want. I never thought I would say this! All this planning and preparation is not my favorite, but I NEED to get it right! So I went back to the Airborne museum with all its sounds and sights, to do a couple more blind contours. … and I realize that put me a little on edge.
I was looking for encouragement when I showed a trusted friend my progress, and instead I found some corrective criticism. I took it to heart, even though I just wanted to blow it off. So even though I am a confident artist that has over ten years experience of selling my work, I was aching. What if I screw it all up? What if it isn’t as powerful of a statement as I am trying to make? What if I mess it up?! This place is a dangerous place to be. Dangerous because the fears start strangling my hope. I stop trusting that I am capable to problem solve any blunders.
SO WHAT GOT ME OUT? What was my remedy to this heart-sickness?
I called an artist friend. One that goes back to my freshman year of college. She knows what I am capable of and she is not afraid to tell me when I have gotten off coarse. Her work is very different than mine but she understands my style and my process. It started as a call and then we went to FaceTime…I thought she needed to “SEE IT”. See the challenges, see why I was going back and forth. She told me, “I know it is going to be great.” She didn’t give me the answer, but helped me to discover it for myself. Her reassurance helped me to be brave. Brave enough to get rid of the tank blind contour and to believe I would figure out how to fit it all….
Soaking it in.
I AM NOT MEANT TO FACE IT ALONE. YOU ARE NOT MEANT TO FACE IT ALONE.
We can be each other's remedy. The first time I heard this saying was when my friend was given a necklace from her cousin with the word ‘remedy’ on it. When her cousin gave the gift, she told her "you are my remedy." I kept thinking about that... My words, or my presence, could be someone's "remedy"....the just. what. I. needed. moment.
I think back to the moments and people during deployment that were remedies for me.
A phone call normalizing the crazy I was going through. When my emotions went from happy to angry the first time arriving home after a trip while he was deployed.
The coffee delivered with a hug from another mom going through deployment too.
The place for my pregnant body to crash and two small girls to play until the smell of bug spraying dissipated.
The place to drop my other two kids at a moment's notice so I could go to ER with my daughter who busted her head open.
The invitation to dinner.
The craft night, that I thought was just dinner and hanging out.
The Saturday that I did nothing but be. The plop yourself on the couch. Relaxed home away from the not-so-homey home. The conversation and coffee all while life happened in our lounge-wear.
The collaborative dinners. Experimental dinners with a trusted friend-if it bombed there was no shame.
The understanding that if your soldier calls TALK. ANSWER. TAKE YOUR TIME.
The help putting the kids in the car because I was outnumbered and tired.
The extra hugs, the waiting for me to let my guard down. The prayers and encouraging words that met my tearful eyes.
Surprising me with dinner for my family.
The exceptionally clear Skype or FaceTime.
Being able to stay, just because I can't think of a reason to leave to go to an empty home with dinner alone.
These are the healing balm to an aching heart. The people that understood and were open with their own struggles, and the others that were just available.
Adell's lyrics inspired the "remedy" necklace and as I listened to her song what stood out to me the most was "this ain't easy, it's not meant to be. Every story has it's scars ....."
Because many people have gone before me, and because at times it seems that others just "handled" things so much better than me… my feelings of failure become inflamed. The truth is that my story is unique. And it is hard. My struggles seem to change, but when I acknowledge it is not meant to be easy, I can enjoy the surprise of ease, if it ever arrives. All of us face struggles in one shape or form. The hardships that are mounting against you today are the "scars" that give you what it takes to walk with others, in order to be their remedy. There is beauty that comes through perseverance. I have "quit" many times only to realize that me "quitting" is the beginning of me getting through. I have to quit going at it alone. That means I can't just fake that I am strong or say " I got this."
" When the pain cuts you deep. When the night keeps you from sleeping. Just look and see. That I will be your remedy."
I know that my faith in God is what truly heals the deepest cuts, but I am surprised at how much He uses people. I have been completely discouraged and maxed out with army life. My man is training hard and no matter how much I tell myself that it is good and needed, stress can still get the best of me. Especially when I am not where I want to be with my artwork and the kids have being crying "I don't want daddy to go to far away work and die." This wears on me as a mom who wants to protect my kids from this type of emotional pain. There is little I can do, there are no guaranties that our soldiers will come back to us in the same manner that they left. It is a mental battle to not delve into the fear of loss before it happens. I have made this mistake and I have spiraled down, unable to be reached -until I start giving thanks for all I have, instead of dreading the loss of it.
I wasn't going to share this, but I had a friend encourage me not to gloss over it.
So may you find remedy today for the pain that cuts you deep.
Reach out. Call that friend. Be thankful for what you do have or at least work towards thankfulness.