Sitting here in the overwhelm that seems to be my life these days, I flip through my sketchbook to begin drawing on a blank page. This is the last drawing entered in my Handbook Journal, drawn last Tuesday at Baptist Hospital waiting for my dear mom to come out of surgery for breast cancer.
What caught my eye (and my breath) as I looked at my drawing, was the word “Attention” on the sign they had propped up on the desk ledge. I’m sure the sign was something medical in nature, or pertaining to the waiting room area, but I saw it just now, in my drawing, and it reminded me why I do this thing of making drawings in a little book.
Drawing my life, no matter what’s going on, causes me to pay attention. It’s a bit like a magnifying glass, this pen to paper activity. It causes me to see what I could not otherwise. It allows me to remember, to focus, to bring all my faculties to bear in a moment…or two or three.
The moments that this drawing represents for me was a wonderful time with my dad while we waited anxiously for news about mom. We talked of being teachers, and being artists, and all the difficulties and pitfalls of the two callings. We talked of life, the past and the future…all while I drew the present. My dad likes to draw as well. He says what he likes about it, is that if you draw that little plant there (referring to the plastic one above) you’ll forever remember where it was, what day it was, and what was happening that day. For myself, I was drawn to the fabric weaving on the wall there…gorgeous color for an otherwise bleak sort of day.
And then the word, “Attention”. Even in tenuous times, where we’re uncertain of the future, we hear a voice whispering to us, “Pay Attention here. Look there. Focus on this little patch of color instead of the vast unknown.” I’m trying to heed that little voice these days. Continuing a habit of attention will go far in helping me walk through the days of awaiting a pathology report, of packing up my first-born for college and moving her in, of preparing for the start of teaching school and of my other two kids starting school, etc.
My sketchbook=a magnifying glass. I like that.
*Oh, and did you know that you can click on the drawing to enlarge it so you can see the word “attention” better? Kinda like a magnifying glass, eh?