“… and that made all the difference?”
” Uh, oh,” my mom said as she noticed the tears in my voice . I knew she’d understand because she knows my soul. She’s like that. She “gets” people. I’d been upstairs by myself watching one of my favorite tv shows, unwinding after a long day. I was only a few minutes into watching it when a rush of forgotten feelings woke me up. “That’s who you are and that’s who you aren’t being,” I heard myself say.
“I can’t get back, Mom,” I told her. We talked for a bit, me mostly, and I hung up probably because I was needed. I can’t remember. What I do remember is that Tuesday morning was a challenge. That was the “morning after.” Once I remember who I am and why I’m here, everything I do takes on new meaning.
I held a potato in my left hand and a paint brush in my right hand and couldn’t make sense of the paint. I washed the mouth away three times and called it a day. There was no sense “trying” to create when my mind and heart couldn’t focus. Instead I was trying to remember, again, what I love to do – what makes me lose sense of time and space. I love to paint. But I need depth, if that makes sense to you? I can only stay in fun and fairy tales for so long before I want to connect substance and meaning to what I’m doing.
A half a day later, emotionally drained, I “found” myself again as I was driving to the Family Search Center for my bi-weekly stint as its director. The radio was on as usual and the song that was playing the night before my dad died decided it was the right moment to make itself useful, while I had nowhere to run and hide, and nothing available to distract myself. “Yeah, Dad. I remember,” I thought as I drove. My hardened heart opened up for a moment to let in refreshing light and love.
And then people started to arrive. My alone time had consisted of 10 minutes, and I suggested that the gathering of friends that had congregated in my office move to the “big” room because, well, it was getting cramped in there and no one was leaving. I set up my laptop and started painting a potato, fielding questions about it and simultaneously helping my friend with her search on Ancestry.com for her great-grandmother. I was painting a mouth again, struggling with the nuances that made it his mouth, straining my eyes on the upper lip of the right side of it.
And that’s when it hit me. I’m in love with those nuances – the tiny, seemingly insignificant details of a person’s face and life that tell a story. I stared at the half-finished potato face and realized it wasn’t silly to me anymore. It was a person who had a story to tell. I was reading that story on every detail I was trying to recreate as I saw it through my eyes, just like the stories I recreate from data found and researched from documents and photos I find on the Internet or in my personal belongings if they are my ancestors. What I had been led and gifted to do in my life is to want to see and tell a person’s story. That is who I am.
I LOVE THAT.
Someday soon it’ll all come together. I know it. I just need to forgive myself for the delays and lack of focus and chalk it up to…I don’t know…life?
I hope you are finding meaning in what you are doing every day. Are you?