My Dad died suddenly in a car accident about six years ago. We got along swell him and me, both artists and writers. He taught me how to paint and encouraged me through numerous artistic depressions. You know, those moments where your vision far exceeds your burgeoning abilities? We were the other’s biggest support and not much passed through to completion without us first holding one of our little critiques.
Yesterday, while looking for a certain binder in the back of the music cupboard I found a poem or maybe they were meant to be song lyrics in his familiar scrawl. It’s still like a punch in the gut to fall upon slips of handwriting or old pictures, especially if it’s not what I’m looking for.
“Sand Got in My Shoes:
I got sand in my shoes/ Not by design/ But by a fortunate happening.
The socks in my shoes/ Felt glumpy and bulky/ Leaving them on for now.”
I’m not sure where he was going with this. I felt the now-familiar drop in my stomach of seeing his work unfinished.
When he died there was a painting half-done; I hated that it was half-done. I almost finished it myself, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. His second book was just published but never marketed. I found a host of paintings stuffed in the attic that I had never seen, never praised.
And this is a sometimes anxiety for me as I’m busy with children day after day that I may never get the time. I watch the sketchbooks slowly fill with hastily scribbled pictures and painting ideas. I have a document nearly constantly open on my laptop with story ideas typed quickly between lunch and naptime. –bits of poems scribbled on coloring pages. –images sketched on church bulletins and stuffed in my diaper bag. Will I have time? Will I ever have time to catch up with the ideas I’ve had before I get more? I don’t like the idea of leaving things undone, beauty unshared.
I wrestle with the fact that, if I do my job well, I will leave something unfinished. That this means I’ve lived correctly, creating until the last minute, never stopping, never saying “done”. I’m encouraged by other women and mothers before me that started later in life. I’m encouraged by the memory that my Dad didn’t start painting in earnest until I was in junior high.
God knows my time on this Earth and my time in this day. He is my Muse and has granted provision for the inspiration He’s given me. He will not waste my abilities. Nor is He so dependent on me that a need will go unfulfilled. So I will trust and go forward creating in this moment the particular beauty I have to share.