Forever Reminders

StickyNote

I have a reminder forever attached to my body. A sticky-note, if you will, to remind me of something or things very important. Things I don’t ever want to forget. I see it multiple times a day. I re-dress it every four days. I clothe myself in particular ways so as to live most comfortably with it. I find myself all too often, worrying about what will happen if something goes wrong with it. I combat these worries with a very real and true gratitude for it.

I have another reminder on my body, right next to the sticky note,  but this one is more like a tattoo. A permanent mark down the middle of my torso, much like a jagged exclamation point which indeed exclaims a whole story. One line, expressing in perfect poetic distillation, a defining story which is still unfolding.

What is it these reminders say to me?

*That I am loved. Never before had I such a huge impression of being loved by God and others.

*That I am never alone. In the most dire of circumstances, I always have His presence and care.

*That I will always have what I need. Perhaps not what I want. But always what I need.

*That I am forever changed. For having seen His hand at work in my body and in my life.

Very few days go by that I don’t think about the story my sticky note and tattoo remind me of. But on certain days, I call them Remembering Days, it all comes rushing back, every detail, the good, the bad and the ugly.  It is all part of a wonderful story, a pilgrimage.  One which I’m grateful I survived. And one which I’m glad, in many ways, is over.

Yet the effects linger. The struggle now is how to live in light of all that has changed. The change feels more in the subterranean plates, rather than in the visibleness of my life. The change is imperceptible to others I’m sure, and perhaps evident only to me. For it is only myself, and my husband, who ever see my sticky note and tattoo.

But that’s what makes it precious. It was a gift to me. It is something I get to touch and care for on an ongoing basis as one would with the gift of a plant or a talent. It would not be good to forget about taking care of my sticky note. Nor would it be good to forget about the story, the words represented by that exclamation point on my belly. I will go on remembering. Perhaps that is how I’m to live now…just remembering all the love, the faithfulness, the provision granted me during that time. It is always with me. Every day. Permanent reminders of enduring truths.

In the last ten months since my third and final surgery, I haven’t felt very clear about what I want to do here on my blog. Indeed I’ve waffled back and forth between shutting it down altogether, just keeping a log of things I make, or writing thoughts on life and creativity as it seems my poor brain keeps pouring out. I’ve felt a little stymied by the thought that surely my musings cannot be beneficial to others. I typically do write them down in my journal, but the flow of getting them onto this blog , as I used to do in years past, has lagged. A very sweet and dear comment from a long-time reader on my last post has encouraged my lagging heart to be more brave and courageous in sharing. Thank you. Here is one place where I’ll remember. Here I will recall and remind myself and any who would like to read, all that I need to move forward in living, in creating, in seeing and making beauty. I welcome your presence here. Feel free to comment. Let’s remind each other of all that we need to forge the path ahead of us on our pilgrimage.

Artfully yours,

Jennifer

Today’s Gold

CarWindowBeauty

I watched as the dark lines of trees against a subtly colored sky whirred past. From my vantage point in the way back of our van, there was nothing else for me to do. An hour’s drive with a car full, I have opted for this seat to allow longer legs more room. It is dark already at 5 o’clock on this Winter’s solstice. The silhouettes of pine and deciduous are breathtaking against the ever-changing backdrop of a dimly glowing sky. I keep wishing it wouldn’t go by so fast. Each dart of my eyes is trying to snap a picture of the beauty within the small aperture of the back window. One after the other, gorgeous silhouettes flying by in the frame. Please stop! I want to take it all in, savor it, remember it!

But no. We must move on to our next destination. We must arrive on time. Can’t slow down. Can’t stop. Must. Go. On.

As I was held captive by space and beauty, I couldn’t help but feel this is my life–whirring by in a small frame of a family on their way somewhere. Of an artist in a small town. Of a teacher in a tiny school. SO much beauty flying by all around me and I scarce can take it in.

This is the ache I carry with me always. I feel it keen at the busiest times. These are the times it just feels wrong to be so busy. Yet it is precisely because of all the busy that so much beauty is flying around me–

*Loved ones, crammed in a car, listening to lovely holiday music, on our way to hear other loved ones perform and sing a holiday concert.

*A house full of lights and trees and decorations and presents and food and bustling.

*A calendar filled with holiday events, church activities, trips to visit family, book signings and more.

Can’t we please stop? I want SO to take it all in, to savor it, to remember it!

But no. We must move on to our next destination. We must arrive on time. Can’t slow down. Can’t stop.

Or can we?

I reach for my pen, sketchbook and journal. I write my thoughts. I draw a picture. This is stopping. This is remembering. This is savoring some of the beauty that has whirred by. If only for a few minutes or half an hour, I can stop the van, get out, take a pic or two. Then get back in.

This will do. Though the ache will continue on, it is abated in the sketchbook and the journal. Drawcumenting the fleeting moments soothes the ache to go slow. Writing it down reminds me that I’m still here, a vessel to hold all these beautiful moments.

I will draw and write to slow down time just a little bit. Won’t you hop out of the van with me, and we will take a pic or two together!

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This is a follow-up post to the previous one, in case you missed it.:)