The content of this post is self-centered. I dare not count how many times, I type, “I”. Far too often, I fear! Something inside me aches to write about ME, however, and so I am going forward.
I treasure my life these days. That’s because I have joy in what I do. I paint because it brings me joy…not because I need to meet a deadline or I have to achieve my quota before the weekend. I don’t paint for approval. For years, (more years than I care to remember) I set my alarm for four a.m. and rolled out of bed, painting with oils for three hours before the rest of the family got up. Most nights, after the dishes were done and the children were tucked into bed, I pulled out the canvases again…working sometimes until midnight. I carried on like that and raised children at the same time. (reading stories, carving pumpkins, making bunny cakes, sewing costumes, observing Advent, cooking meals)
I taught school full time and completed report cards four times a year for thirty years. At the core, I loved painting, but on the surface, I often thought about all of those wonderful things that I hadn’t the time for…hadn’t the energy for. I watched other people live their lives and wondered what they were all doing, while I painted.
These days, I paint because it is my passion. I love watching the ‘magic’ of it. I feel giddy about it. It is not my work, but my play. Sometimes it is so beautiful that it leaves me breathless…the ‘doing of it is’ beautiful; the art isn’t necessarily…but, the ‘doing of it’ always is.
I pick up other people’s garbage. This gives me joy. Yes! It’s endless and there will always be more. But it is a satisfying feeling to see the land after I’ve been there, again and again. I know, at the least, that I have given something to the heart of the planet.
I write. I write poems and descriptions of all sorts. I write letters and prayers. The more I write, the more I know how much words have always meant to me. Written words came and come easily, always, and I treasure them.
Taking photographs of common-place objects, settings and people, gives me joy. I like to take down a visual history of things around me. I see value in archives and this is just who I am and I delight in that.
Now, I make short movies. I like to explore and think about animation and what fun it must be to choose to do this all of the time and at a greater scale. I like that this is something that once I would have been fearful to try, but on my own, I have discovered and experienced.
I spend much time outdoors; observing the sky and enjoying nature. The past few years, I have especially enjoyed watching the variety of birds that are in our area. I didn’t take notice of them before. But having taken a huge interest in endangered species since 2006, I am mindful of many more things and grow in knowledge about birds every day. We can’t be activists for all things, but we can educate ourselves a little bit every day and live consciously.
If I hadn’t made the decision to own a dog again, I wouldn’t be outside in all of the different seasons. When it rains, I put on my gum boots. When it snows, I bundle up. Like clockwork, I am outdoors with Max delighting in the silent mornings while so many others are sleeping and again in the late afternoon. I have explored most of the parks of our city this way and feel enriched because of it.
I read a book each week. Inside the front cover of each book, I write a summary of my thoughts about that book and I write the date and my name and my place of residence. One day someone might pick up that book and wonder about the inscription in the front.
I am thrilled that I am able to read. My mother loved to read. Now, with alzheimer’s disease, she can’t. I am grateful each time I hold a book in my hands and can think about the story, the characters and enter into the settings. As I have typed this paragraph, I know that my mother motivates me more than anyone right now…her life tells me that I have only time to fill my life with joy. I haven’t time to waste on things that bring me less.
I am digging as deep as is possible into my faith; understanding and expression of my Catholicity. I want to know my Creator-God. I want to be a friend to him.
I treasure my friendships and my family…so many good men and women who have made my life a joy! My children make me proud and as I watch them grow, I treasure the memory of who they were as wee ones and who they are today.
This is a time of wonderment. This is the joy of my life.