This month, “Loving the Process,” has been about creativity and how there are tools that can help move us from boredom to productivity, from being stalled to taking baby steps. There are more tools that I will share at a later date, but I wanted to pause here at the end of this month to talk about why the process has been important to me.
Nearing my 40th birthday, my life had had been in disarray (to put it mildly) for quite a few years. At one point I felt distraught and completely alone. I felt that I had no one to talk to who could truly understand what I was going through at the time. Even though I was a person of faith, I felt, angry, sad, depressed and hopeless. The reason for this is that I was living in a way that was truly in conflict with my beliefs, but I had not found my way to repentance over my wrongs, and a way back to wholeness and peace. I was in conflict in my soul over my desires and what I knew to be right. Have you ever been there?
On this particular day I felt a strong need to express all of my confusion. I don’t even know why I felt this way. I only know that I pulled out a box of paints that had been my Grandmother’s, and an old unfinished canvas and proceeded to layer color after color. (This was perhaps a few months before I painted my first orchid, that I spoke about here.) I finished this “painting,” and set it aside. It wasn’t anything special to look at. It was dark, moody, abstract and quite depressing – but I had expressed my despair in a way that relieved some of that I what I had been feeling. I did not show it. It was too personal and telling in a way that I was not ready to reveal – but I was satisfied that I had found an agreeable outlet for all that was going on in my heart. It was a type of “prayer” for me, a way to “cry out,” that was acceptable, positive and, as it turned out, quite productive.
I didn’t know at the time, but I had engaged in a therapy for the soul: a process that would eventually have life altering properties for me and for my family. It would be some months later that I would formalize what I was doing with an easel, and paints, and more focused attention. It would be a year before I set up and lived my first art showing. It would be two years before I would read The Artist’s Way and begin to understand how the process that I had begun would change my life. And change my life it did.
I don’t suppose that people who kindly read my blog want to hear all the gory details, and they are heart-breaking and they are sad. Suffice it to say, my marriage was on the brink of divorce and I was slowly dying inside from the depression this caused. God’s grace was amazing, as it always is, and opened the doors for restoration. I had amazing counselors that I cannot thank enough for the many hours they poured in to me, and I had loving family and friends that were patiently praying. Painting did not “save us,” but the process of creativity gave me the tools for introspection that allowed me to “own my part” and begin the arduous journey of restoring my life. This was a major component of the process of restoration and I cannot overstate this.
“Loving the Process” is about the small details that feed our creativity in order for our craft to become what we hope it will become. It was tools, just like the ones I have described this month that brought me to the point of rebuilding a life I had hoped to have. This was my journey. I am still on it. I am still growing and using tools to shape and build this life. It is not a masterpiece that will end up in the Louvre, but it is “our masterpiece,” shaped by the one we call Master, and it is enough. Through these I learned a new “Process for Loving” and it has made all the difference.