In September of this year, I designed a set of four small botanical oil paintings which I intended to paint as a representation of my current state of mind at the time.
For the first time since I began painting back in 2001, I felt compelled to paint a darker side to life than what I would normally choose to create.
This painting called TRANSITION is one of four pieces in my “Sad Flowers” series.
Ironically, as I began to work on each of the four pieces, I became less and less sad with each passing day.
But what was even more unexpected to me, was that each of the four flowers in this series didn’t really appear to be sad at all. In fact, they appeared to be quite the opposite.
How similar to life. Things are not always as they appear.
This is a good reminder to stop assuming that what you see on the surface is all there is to a situation.
A reminder that just because somebody appears to be happy, doesn’t mean that they might not really be carrying around a heavy bag of burdens, hiding beneath their seemingly cheerful exterior.
As a card-carrying introvert, surface-level small talk quickly drains the life out of me faster than just about anything else can.
In contrast, finding out what is truly weighing on a person’s heart is something that I find energizing. Happy or sad. It doesn’t matter. I just want to know what is really going on. Even if it is depressing, at least it is real.
I am always surprised at how open most people are to answering what may seem like a nosy question.
And then another. And another. Until eventually, they have told me their “story.”
It has been my fortunate experience to learn that people want to be heard. All they usually need is just the slightest nudge. A nudge that can be as simple as asking a follow-up question to something they have already offered up to you.
This painting called “Transition” started out as a visual depiction of my heart, which was screaming “Leave. Me. Alone.”
But fortunately, as the weeks passed and I made a very deliberate effort to take better care of myself, the ice-layer covering my heart began to melt, and the sadness and anger drained away.
This healing of my soul, was thanks in great part to the people in my life who were OK with me “not being OK.”
People who let me cry. A lot. And often. And very loudly.
People who let me send them texts that simply said “I am in a fit of rage” — knowing they would pray for my troubled heart to calm down. They didn’t need to know the details. Just that I needed Divine Intervention at the moment.
People who I sent a photo of this very painting to, telling them it was called “I Hate Everyone!” And they laughed with me. Not AT me. People who are OK with things not always having to be OK, are people that can help to facilitate emotional healing.
Thanks in part to these special people in my life, I think I can honestly say that my heart is no longer sad nor angry anymore.
It is ready again to accept the challenge of sometimes peeking past the petals that are covering up what’s truly going on, inside the heart of the people who cross my path.
“Transition” is a painting that says “it’s OK, to not be OK.”
There is a certain beauty that only painful situations will ever extract. Transitions can be highly-effective beauty extractors. Assuming you don’t stay hidden away alone, for longer than necessary.
As we Transition from one year into another today, my New Year’s Wish for YOU is that you would take the time to look past how things seem to appear, to truly Listen in 2016. And to trust the people who love you, with The Real You.