Sunday, January 17, 2016

life at the threshold

Let's say you're barreling along on your novel...or putting the finishing touches on your painting...or practicing a new piece on the piano when the doorbell rings. Someone has come to visit, or to sell something, or to win your soul over to the Lord.

As an artist, you embrace solitude but, because you're such a friendly person at heart, you set your work aside and open the door. Without warning, a powerful gust of wind carries you out into the world--across the fields, over the rolling hills, and into a shifting mist.

The wind dies down and deposits you in an unfamiliar land. No, it isn't the Land of OZ. Someone, somewhere needs your help. They've fallen through the ice, or they're stuck in the mud, or they've lost their way. You do what you can to help. You throw them a lifeline, or look for a shovel, or jot down directions for them. Whatever they need.

By the time you find your way back to your desk, or your studio, or the keyboard, you've lost a whole day. Maybe several days. Your thought process has been interrupted, or your paints have started to dry out, or you can't seem to pick up the melody again.

This is what happened to me last week. I received a late night text from a friend, and spent the next four days with her at her mother's bedside where we wrestled with the end of life decisions no one is ever prepared to make. Then we waited to see if God and the universe approved our plan.

As it turned out, they were both cheering for us.

The vicissitudes of life can sometimes carry us away. They can make it hard for us to pick up the creative thread again. They can saddle us with added worry, or sadness, or disappointment. The thing is...they are part of the creative thread of life itself. As we head back to our desks or studios or workshops, we gather up the tattered scraps of our lives, the faded remnants of sorrow, and the ragged snippets of despair. Then we pick up our thread, and we more or less patch them all together again.

Quote: A single thread of hope is still a very powerful thing.

After a couple of days, my friend's mother went home to the comfort of her own bed, where she was attended by gentle, caring souls right up until the moment she crossed the threshold.

Ram Dass was correct when he said,

"We're all just walking each other home."

...even though we may, sometimes, feel lost.


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