The key turns, the door opens and I step into the studio. How long has it been? One week? Two? More? I honestly can’t remember but the plants need watering. It’s obvious I was hopeful of returning soon when I was last here. My palette is laid out, colors mixed and all is covered with a sheet of thin plastic to keep the paint fresh for the next day. To no avail. I find the paint scraper to clean off the glass, but I don’t have the heart to put out new paint.
Instead, I study the photo of the model and analyze the drawing. In the last painting session, the values improved but I once again drifted off in measuring and have to re-draw and make adjustments. I sigh. Will I ever get these paintings done? I was so excited when I was first contacted for this project. So much so, I volunteered to do two portraits rather than one.
Another sigh. I turn my attention to the plants. I can do something about that. Finding two gallon jugs, I make the trip down the hall for the janitor’s closet. I forget to take the key with me, so it’s the restroom sink instead. Back in the studio, I see the poinsettia is blooming and I rotate the pot. I notice one of the plants is looking quite bleached out. The full light is too much for it and I need to move it. I’d moved the small palm the last time I was here and it’s much happier in its new location. I give it a drink.
The plants are not too bad off but the water soaks quickly into the dry soil and shortly the greenery perks up. When was the last time I watered my soul? I’ve been so busy dipping into my spiritual reservoir to give to others that I’ve failed to recognize it has run dry.
Sorrow upon sorrow fills my life right now. Watching my in-laws slowly losing ground, a friend entering hospice care, another friend’s husband with only a few months to live…one emotional weight after another creating a desert in my heart.
Rather than spend time trying to paint when I’ve nothing to say and no energy to say it, I decide it’s time for quiet meditation to tap into the Living Water and refill my spiritual well. I select some CDs that currently speak to my heart and just soak it in as I quietly sit in the studio. It’s a struggle to still my mind – there are so many things that need attending to. But I’m worth fighting for, so I stay with it. Hebrews 4:11 comes to mind. It is labor and diligence that helps us enter into rest. It takes about 20 or 30 minutes to finally settle my mind and get to a place of prayerful meditation. While it is time well spent, when it is over the issues of life come crowding back in. It seems the well needs more time being filled. Time I don’t have in this season of life.
But it is a start and I now recognize the need. But I am so weary.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.