Friday, August 21, 2009

Grateful for an “artistic” moment

I pulled into the driveway of our home in the Berkshires and there she was-my wife was on our deck, standing in front of an easel. Brush in hand, wide hat on her head, and a deep sense of gratefulness in her heart.
I simply sat in the car and basked in the moment of gratefulness knowing how essential painting is for my wife’s soul and for witnessing the quiet and intense joy on her face.
My wife is a wonderfully able social worker, responsible for a mental health clinic for children and adolescents. Her working life is stressful and demanding, yet rewarding. By and large there is very little beauty in her working life; abused children and spouses, dysfunctional families, people ensnared by addiction, failure and pain in the classroom, are the brush strokes of a colorless, grey, if not black world .The canvas of my wife’s work world is splattered with the oils of human struggle and indignity.
When a calm moment arrives-a long weekend, a summer vacation- she takes a well-deserved absence from the dark world of human tragedy and enters into a world of light and color-luscious green of rustling trees, swaths of sunshine and color, a world of sheer beauty.
I glanced at her canvas. I noticed what appeared to be arbitrary stroke of random color.
“Why did you make those strokes?” I asked. “What do they mean?”
She replied. “This is the sketch of the painting I am working on.” It made no immediate sense to me. I am barely capable of drawing a round face with a smile or a frown.
I then realized that every stroke was like a letter or word in a composition of writing. She had the talent and the training to understand the vocabulary of color. That was one of her many gifts, one that brought her an inner, core experience of joy. That was the thread of her creative life, a gift from the Universe ,one for which all who will see the finished painting will indeed be grateful.

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