Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Comfortable Chair

Almost every morning for a few weeks now, one of my favorite sounds blissfully awakens me—the tweeting and chirping of the neighborhood birdies that start singing before dawn. The cozy sound that makes me smile before my eyes open. Then glancing at the clock and rolling over to doze for a few minutes longer, my mind is active enough to force me up to start another busy artful day—my chosen path for the remainder of my time here (that will never be long enough).

Last week when visiting with my 94-year-old mother in the nursing home, she asked me what my ambition was. I thought it was a rather odd question at the time, one that you ask a teenager, not a mature woman contemplating retirement. However, since Mom cannot always distinguish the “now” from the “then” anymore, I simply answered her question. I was succinct and I did not hesitate, “to create art every day,” I told her. I looked at her as she sat in her wheelchair and asked her the same question. She replied, also without hesitation, “To sit in a comfortable chair”. That simple. Both of our answers were essentially identical. We both have the same ambition—we both want to feel comfortable. And it’s not always that easy, or that simple.

Macular Degeneration took Mom’s eyesight, and she suffered a broken hip from a fall last year that still causes her pain. She needs help getting dressed and out of bed into a wheelchair. It’s a daily struggle for her. I am on the opposite end of the spectrum.

I have both physical and mental health, along with healthy goals (maybe too many). Yet, I too, struggle with the ambition of my artful day. Life gets in the way—even though it’s what I want the most. Distractions and obstacles are many—in the form of full-time employment, household chores, stress, the list is endless. “Not enough hours in a day” is my mantra. Yet, somehow, I manage to make every day an “artful” one, even if it’s a quick sketch in my art journal. J.L. Spalding’s said, “We always make time to do the things we love”. How true that is. If we don’t make time for art, we’re only cheating ourselves. Making art isn’t an option, it’s a necessity—my ambition. It’s my comfortable chair.

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