I've often thought about how my mom and I are traveling in parallel universes. She at 85, myself at 55. My bout with rheumatoid arthritis has been a season of letting go, days of humbling, relentless shedding. Mom, too, is facing an endless winding down, letting go of things she loves to do, letting go of a body that is no longer reliable, letting go of the stuff of life. All of this she does with grace. Not with a schmarmy, syrupy, false facade of bravery but with that steady, quiet grace that knows there are no guarantees of an easy exit. A deep knowing shines through her blinded eyes, of Grace, a gift of Love, that sustains all of life. And so, we travel together, she and I, comforting each other through the losses.
After five trips to Decorah, in as many weeks, to sort through all of Mom's belongings and help her move, I returned to a five-painting commission at my home church for the Advent/Christmas season. I thought I would have all of November to get going on this commission so I'd be ahead of the game, but life happens and I ended up doing a 3 x 4' painting each week for the 5 weeks of Advent/Christmas. You can check those out under the Advent/Christmas tab at the top. I did pretty well in completing each one on time, but on the third painting I was painting up to the last minute (thank you, inventor of blow dryers), getting it over to the church a half hour before the Saturday night service. On Sunday morning, as my pastor preached on the text, using the painting as visual symbol and an enhancement of the text...I kept working on the painting in my head. I wasn't done. Hey, I was still listening! I took it home after church and painted for five more hours. Done.