“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” – Robert Frost
I’ve been struggling with the motivation to keep this blog going. I wonder, why am I working so hard at this if nobody really cares? What’s the point of sharing my art if it’s not reaching anyone? What if it’s too late? What if I’m too old? What if there’s no room for yet another voice? One negative thought flows into another and expands into a river of doubt, and I feel like I’m drowning in defeat. Then I wonder, is it time to quit?
A couple of weeks ago my dad was in the ICU with heart issues. I’ve had it in the back of my mind that he is in his twilight years, but I only understood this intellectually. Fluid engulfed my father’s heart like a moat, and suddenly I felt the full force of this reality: my father is going to die. His river will reach the ocean and cease to exist as a separate entity.
It’s basically impossible to contemplate the mortality of someone so close to you without at least rubbing shoulders with the overriding truth: everyone you love is going to die. And so are you. I don’t think I’m afraid to die. What scares me is life and that I may not be making the most of it. If life is like a river, then right now I feel like I’m clinging to a branch on the bank afraid to let go.
Letting go is not the same thing as giving up. A man I know gave up a couple of weeks ago. His wife left him, she never valued him and he was lucky to be free of her, but he couldn’t move on. All he could see was the rejection, what he no longer had, the loss instead of the possibilities. From the outside, it seemed obvious to all of us who knew him that his life was full of potential. He had so much to live for and so many blessings such as wealth, success, health, and supportive friends, but he could not see past his immediate circumstances. He shot himself right before Thanksgiving.
“To be an artist means to believe in life”– Henry Moore
Letting go requires trust in the journey even though it is sometimes mysterious, volatile, and most certainly finite. If I let go of the branch, I am deciding that life is worth it. If I flow with the tide then the experience can be quite pleasurable. All of this is up to me. The journey is not a given, it’s a choice, but I’d better decide quick because life will not wait.
Free will is a blessing and a responsibility and I hope to use this privilege wisely and make my days on this earth meaningful. Intuitively, I know that I am meant to be creative and to share at least some of my creations. I often feel insecure, exposed, and undervalued about my work, and that causes me almost constant angst. But I get the sense that anxiety and discomfort are inevitable consequences of bearing your soul in the name of art. And because I believe in life, I will continue to share pieces of myself with you. So I am inviting you to join me on this journey, but please be careful with me, I am only human, and I’m still learning how to swim.