Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A painted moment of grace

I've blogged about this painting before, but the last couple of days have really had it on my mind. Last evening's rain was a true gift, because the yesterday and Monday were two of the worst work days I've ever experienced. Yesterday, I was basically stuck watching nearly six weeks of work that was so far unpaid nearly unravel.

At one point, all I could do was wait while my clients rushed to resolve the last minute crisis. I was sitting alone in a beautiful office, having trouble breathing, and my hands were literally shaking. I'd worked too damn hard for too damn long to see this fall apart at the last minute. I know that's part of the job, and normally this is a very rare occurrence. It has happened before, and I've taken it in stride, but yesterday, it got to me. My anxiety was more for my clients, one of whom was also shaking because she wanted this to work so badly. It did eventually work out, but it drained all of us.

In those long, trembling minutes of waiting though, I knew I had to do something to calm down. I keep several photos of some of my favorite paintings in my Palm (a bare bones basic z22). I pulled it out, went to photos and set it to do a slide show. I took a deep breath and let Magritte, Chagall, Monet and my personal photos seep into me. I kept coming back to this one though.

The name of the painting is Hope I, and it's by Gustav Klimt. I don't have it in me to look at art objectively. I appreciate it by instinct and a liberal arts education, and then my appreciation is still filtered through the events of my life. What I got from this painting this time is that hope is not an easy thing to bear. Though it is a gift, hope is also a burden. It changes you. It rearranges you inside, and you no longer function the way you used to. You have to get used to this, and until you are, hope can hurt. While you have hope, part of you is always working, even when you don't recognize the effort. Like all work, it can wear you out, and when you want to quit, hope won't let you. Once you commit to hope, there is no way out until it's over, and you either have the object of your hope, or you accept that it's gone forever.

I'm neither red-headed, waifish nor pregnant, but this painting could be of me. Things happening in my life are truly dark and scary now. Yesterday's bad work day was really a rather small event in the bigger picture. It was only immediacy that made it seem so bad. As I sat waiting, staring at the miniature images held in my shaking palm, I refocused and realized that though the background is dark, I am the light foreground. I may not like what's going on, but I'm just built to always carry hope. It's the way I was painted, and tonight, I celebrate that. The joy of it and the burden of it. Last night, grace came to me via rain drops and ozone filled air. Tonight, it comes from an old and familiar painting and a fleeting touch on an old Caesarean scar.

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6 Comments:

Blogger more cows than people said...

thank you, cynthia. hope is a difficult thing to bear... thinking of you with love.

March 29, 2007 8:38 AM  
Blogger Cecilia said...

Cynthia, I wonder if you know what a gifted writer you are? I wonder, too, if you have considered whether you might have a call to preach? If I had heard this in a sermon it would have rated among the top five I have ever heard.

Pax, C.

March 29, 2007 10:21 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I choose to believe that you will not have to accept that the object of your hope is gone forever.

Wonderful post, my friend...

March 29, 2007 11:44 PM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

Ditto on the wonderful writer comment. Now if I could just get you to DO something more with all that talent! :-)

March 30, 2007 10:23 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

very positive writing here, Cynthia. Not only insightful, but you see outside of yourself as well.


Chris
My Blog

March 31, 2007 3:50 PM  
Blogger sunflowerkat said...

We often think about hope like it IS the answer....like hope is all you need for all things rosy. This is a really thought provoking piece that points out that nope is support for hard work, and in the face of adversity, hope is hard work itself.

April 02, 2007 6:28 AM  

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