Saturday, October 14, 2006

change of he-art

I was a coward tonight. I ran when I should have stayed. I was invited to participate in a very prestigious art exhibit put on by the studio where I formerly studied, and I was invited by my instructor. I agreed, with some reservations, and tonight, I saw that my reservations were not unfounded. I walked into the show and realized after I saw my work hanging among the other studio artist's pieces, I'm not the same person I was eight years ago. In fact I was reminded of this earlier in the day in quite a different setting. But back to the show...I felt that my work was not appropriate. It was mine, without question, and I don't apologize for my style, but it was not right for this venue because I don't belong here anymore. So in my discomfort and embarrassment, I ran away.

I still feel bad, and I know I owe my teacher, who took a large risk inviting me, a huge apology. He'll act like he doesn't care, and maybe he really doesn't, but I do. I also have to admit, though, I'm more comfortable being home and I'll take whatever ill will or problems my decision has caused me rather than go back. After I bored my husband with all the details and whined about it, I started thinking about my day. The majority of my time was spent in worship practice and talking with my pastor afterwards about life's concerns and situations that are going on in the church. I should have left to drop artwork off at another place I needed to, but I stayed to talk. I made my drop at the last minute and would have been content to miss it entirely were that the case. Then I rushed to a women's meeting at a church miles away, got stuck in traffic, feared I would miss the event all together, but I stayed the course. The reason I did was because a missionary was speaking at the meeting, and I have been supporting his family and writing to his wife for years now. This man travelled thousands of miles to be here, and I wasn't about to miss it. I was determined to get there.

Earlier in the day I realized as I was doing laundry that some of the laundry included articles of clothing belonging to a long-time friend of my daughter's who has had continual trouble at home. She is now basically homeless, as her mother threw her out yet again. I wanted to offer her use of our bathroom, kitchen, washer and dryer, but she's too uncomfortable asking or taking help. This resulted in my daughter changing clothes with her so I'd wash them without the embarrassing "asking the parents" part. I wondered if this might finally result in her living with us. I don't know how to handle it, but I realized it is heavy on my mind.

Well, my conclusion to all of this is that my heart has changed. I don't deserved to show with artists who take their work so seriously they spend hours at it, and put together an elegant and high end exhibit. I don't care like they do. God did something in my inner being that made me want to spend my time with my pastor, a missionary, and a homeless kid more than I want to draw. I see no heroics in this-being an accomplished artist is as much a calling as anything else, but it isn't mine. That I do see. And I dishonor my artist friends who do have this calling if I think I can not care and skate by with subpar work. I was invited-people believed in me, but I can't hide from my heart and what my own eyes are telling me. Art has a place in my world, but it isn't first.

I've been painting picture of Egypt,
Leavin' out what it lacks
The future looks so hard and I wanna go back
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I've learned
And that road was closed off to me
While my back was turned

(Sara Groves)


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