Restlessly we seek that which might satisfy our hunger. Many pathways lead upward yet we cannot see the whole distance. Beyond the top of the hill or around the corner remains a mystery.
Some pathways are safer than others. Occasionally they are blocked. Every path can, however, by dangerous. Earthquakes or falling rocks can destroy perfectly good highways. Despite the disruption we wish to continue. We may find a plank to place across the gap. Having travelled a little way, we discover our plank is sagging and wobbly. Many turn back. Some move forward. A few have enemies who push the would-be bridge into the chasm. We fall.
All of us fall at some point, losing our footing and our way. At the bottom, once we have regained our equilibrium and our eyes have adjusted to the dark, we might spy a crooked, narrow path leading up or another leading down. The downward path leads into deeper gloom and some require the intense darkness to see the light. Others begin the climb again. Still others remain where they are waiting for someone else to carry them. A few need carrying for everything is broken. Only gentle kindness can heal the wounds. Healing allows another attempt to climb the crooked path. And the path is narrow, crooked and steep.
The pathways of love invite us to forgive those who have pushed us into the chasm. Love demands we help those who are too broken to move. She also insists on letting go of hurts, taking responsibility for our own lives and choosing anew. Sometimes Love requires we move away from those we love to give them enough space to find themselves. For indeed, the darkness teaches lessons we need to learn. One such lesson reveals the fruit of blaming others. Only by letting go of blame can we be open enough to receive and embrace what pain has to teach. Then can we be thankful for both the good times and the bad. Certainly, both pathways lead to good eventually.
All it takes is a split-second. A small miscalculation, a moment of inattention, a distraction may cause the next serious accident. Someone may die in that precious second. Sirens wail echoing off walls, penetrating patches of peaceful sleep. Most of the time we ignore the sound too often heard. Nothing to do with us, we think.
The split-second counts
Watching drivers casually continuing on their way as emergency vehicles scream for space and time to pass irritates me. That split-second counts. It is a matter of life and death. If ever I should be on the receiving end of emergency services I would hope no one gets in the way because he or she might have a more important schedule to keep than mine. Life is too short as it is. Sometimes it is way too short.
Sirens arrived too late
A friend of ours died a couple of days ago. Heroin overdose. We found out last night through Facebook. The sirens had arrived too late, his young life snuffed too soon. A beautiful soul tortured by betrayal he had struggled to survive. He dreamed of a loving family in which he could be a loving father to his children. Unfortunately, he found it hard to forgive and love himself. Lost in the confusion of not knowing who he was, he succumbed one more time to the temptation of escaping his pain.
Band aid solutions
Recently I noticed a billboard suggesting cannabis as a solution to the opioid epidemic. Another band aid to a much deeper problem. It is like handing out guns to solve domestic violence. No. We are in trouble as a society. Our very comfortable world is suffering from the consequences of ignored abuse long overdue for attention. Centuries of mistreatment creates victims who are unaware of being victim. They feel the pain carried down from one generation to the next. Always present, the pain is lived as normal until it becomes unbearable.
Escaping the pain
Having arrived at the point of choice many turn to alcohol which works for a while. A few choose to face the pain instead of trying to escape it. The lucky ones find the people necessary to support them through the process to wellness. It is a long, hard road. Many do not make it. It only takes a split-second to choose the wrong way.
Choosing for today
So, as I move through this day, I too have a choice. I can choose to smile and bless those around me as I quietly mourn. Or I can be miserable. I suspect our friend would rather receive the blessing. Although we knew him for what feels like a split-second, we were blessed for having him as part our lives. He enriched the time we shared. We choose to remember his beautiful soul.
Priorities may change at any given moment. Lately they reconfigure with what seems like complete abandon. I am still managing to meet deadlines and flow through the chaos. In the end I am left wondering if chaos shows up in my paintings for a reason.
I do love the unexpected. It adds that bit of spice to routine. Occasionally the spice is somewhat stronger than I can tolerate and panic besieges my peace. The disturbance usually emerges around the expectation of others: submission calls, advertising, website upkeep, in a word: bookkeeping.
Benefits and prices
At the moment my regular routine suffers from severe neglect in the area of computer work. I have chosen to focus on other priorities. People are more important than routines and schedules. Yet, every choice entails a benefit and a price. Last weekend had a benefit: I chose to support my family in a time of sorrow. The price: I lost an opportunity to promote my business in the art world.
Sometimes the decision requires vigilant consideration. Priorities determine the outcome. My loyalties lie with the people around me rather than the pursuit of fame and fortune. It may be my downfall as an artist, or so the promoters tell me. In my deliberations over every choice I come back to the importance of relationship. Life throws curves requiring attention and care. The curves tend to change priorities.
Over the next few weeks and months I can foresee several occasions requiring my time and energy. The unusual continues. Rather than resist I choose to flow. In the meantime, I seek out the five-minute time slots in which I can paint and keep attending to the immediate. Much to my amazement canvases continue to fill with lovely images and opportunities abound. I am also grateful for the help of many friends who are willing to be my hands and feet on occasion. It leads me to believe I have my priorities in the correct order.
If you happen to be in Calgary during May do drop in at Art Point where I am showing with four other artists “Devenir+”. More info here. Until next time, life is good.