Monday, December 17, 2012

Dateline and the Majesty of God

My birthday was last week. So my husband and I decided to take a long weekend and drive down to the Lake of the Ozarks. It’s our favorite time to go down there because it is so quiet. In this large condo complex, we were one of three people there.

We rented movies and I played with my art stuff on the floor, making a little fort of art supplies. I worked with acrylic paint, and used steel wool as a method of scrapping off the paint. I glued together several sheets of a paper bag. My plan was to carve out a tree for a mini canvas (more about that next week). We did a little shopping and we ate at roadside restaurants in little towns along a Missouri state highway. If that had been the entirety of our trip, it would have been a great birthday.
Around a quarter to midnight on my birthday, I get a text from my youngest daughter. Texts at this time of night are usually not glad tidings; more likely they are news of a stalled car, accident or some other unpleasantness. But not tonight; tonight, she wanted me to go outside and watch a meteor shower. So, I get out of bed (husband grunts slightly and the dog looks at me with an annoyed expression) and go outside. Mind you, I am in yoga paints, a t-shirt and no shoes. I felt a sense of urgency to get out into the night to see what she was seeing.

I found a dark spot and watched. Below me is the lake is still. Above me is a star filled sky. All around me is a deep, cold quiet.

I watched objects from outside our earth fall into the atmosphere, always falling fast, leaving a long streak behind them. Everything was so clear, so quiet. My daughter and I were sharing this moment, even though she was hundreds of miles away.

But I also learned something about myself. I cannot be still. Standing barefoot on the concrete, I would look into the sky and think about the majesty of God and then look over my shoulder to make sure that I was still alone. I would think of how beautiful this was and then images of every Dateline I had ever seen ran through my head. Look up at the sky; look over my shoulder. Thinking about how far the starlight had travelled to reach me at this moment; thinking about how this would be the perfect setting for a Stephen King story.

When it seemed the light show was over and I could no longer feel my feet, I went back inside. That text and experience was a great and thoughtful gift. Here’s hoping the next midnight text is just as great.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Playing in Public

I find myself, once again, sitting in an airport. I got to Salt Lake with almost four hours before my next flight. This is an unfortunate but common occurrence and it’s always a struggle since I am easily bored. When traveling for pleasure, I always bring my "fun bag". It is filled with about 20 lbs worth of the stuff I live on - my iPad, journal, travel-sized art supplies, and other assorted knicks and knacks. My husband claims that it’s more like 40 lbs so when it comes to lugging it around it is anything but fun. But it gives me the opportunity not to go out of my mind while waiting for the next flight.

The city of Salt Lake has seen fit to bless its travelers with tables and chairs near windows. My husband and I grabbed one of them and I proceeded to play in my journal for the next two hours. Granted, there was a lot of stuff laid out on the table--paints, paper, magazines, stamps, etc. But as I worked, I noticed something that I hadn't really noticed before--maybe because when I have done this in the past, I would find a corner and plant myself on the floor. Today, I was in the hallway of the terminal. 

People were staring at me. They would walk by and look at what I was doing and then they would really look at me. Some would smile; some look confused. A few actually frowned. And I wondered why people would frown. I was having a great time and I wasn’t in anyone’s way. 

There’s not really anything profound to say about this. I was doing the adult equivalent of giving kids crayons and a menu they can draw on. It was fun. It passed the time.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Small but Hopeful

For a long time now I have told the people in my life that small steps is the way to achieve anything. This is truly a great idea. It sounds really good. Living it is an entirely different matter.

The irony is that I am an impatient person. It has always been that way. Small steps--okay--maybe if I can take them all at one time.

Starting my own small business has given me a new perspective on smallness. Last Saturday, I was at a holiday show organized by a friend of mine. She's out of work and was needed a way to make a little cash. So, she put the holiday show together at a local American Legion hall.

When I got to the event, I found 20 other vendors who are trying to do the same thing. All of these women (these types of small businesses seems to be more of a chick thing) have a need to build something for themselves.

Not only is there a need or desire, there is hope and optimism and faith. They live out the idea of small steps. Every paint stroke, every crochet stitch, every photo is a simple, physical act that there is something good on the horizon, something out there worth moving toward. Not now but out in the near or even distant future.

In my impatience, I need to remember that I am one of them. Hope, optimism, and faith live alongside doubt and impatience and disappointment. Every time I finish an item, write a blog, or bother my friends with yet another Facebook post that shows another product on my Etsy store, I am expressing hope and faith.