Sunday, September 7, 2014

Art, Joy, & Making Way Through Darkness



Sometimes I find it difficult to write. I think the first time I felt too overwhelmed to write was when I returned home from serving an LDS mission in northern England, where I helped bring people to Christ. I had so many feelings upon returning home, when I put my pen to the paper nothing would come. After sitting in a stupor of thought, waiting for some inspiration, I would set the pen back down. It is not as if I felt especially agitated or ill at ease, I just could not write.

The next time I recall the stupor of thought occurring was while dating my first boyfriend. 

I find it difficult to be consistent with writing when my feelings are so strong and overpowering--a little frustrating when I enjoy having control over what I do when, and I prefer to be consistent. Perhaps it is shock that stops me from writing. That would make sense. The culture shock from integrating back into society post missionary service; the shock of actually being in a relationship for the first time--of trying to figure out what that meant, how to love, to work through feelings I hadn't experienced since childhood, and how to communicate about really important things and set boundaries that I'd never had to really worry about before. 

And so, in another stupor of thought, I have unfortunately left the blog hanging for the past couple of weeks. Maybe I should just plan on writing every couple of weeks rather than every week :) After listening to a Mormon Channel episode, live with big name Mommy Blogger's, it sounds a little lame to weasel my way out of a weekly if not a daily post. However, I am generally pretty good at not comparing myself to other ladies and so I am sure I will be perfectly content to continue as I started and to try to find a balance that works for me, as a beginner/novice to the world of blogging. Becoming consistent with either a weekly or biweekly schedule is the first task I want to hurdle.

I find sketching to be a source of inspiration. I began sketching for my posts because I appreciate other's artwork, and I really enjoy an attractive post with catching art and a splashy intro (Remember, mine is still a work in progress--early progress--I know ;). However, I am happy to have found that when I cannot write to express my thoughts or feelings, I can draw. I am so grateful for art! What a blessing to have another medium of communication that can draw out feeling and expression while my pen is stopped from forming words. 

Initially I thought this post would be nothing but pictures, but as I thought about the pictures a story began to form and hence you are reading this post, not just looking at it. I suppose you can still 'read' a sketch, but when there are words to be had I'd rather not leave everything up to the imagination--in reference to the interpretation of the art :)  


Through Clouds of Darkness



Sunshine Tears



Stuck in the Music


TBC

I know I have left these incomplete in the past, but I hope to get to it this week. Just to get me started I am leaving an outline to finish. I have several journals with incomplete TBCs in them--which I find annoying because I would really like to know what I was planning to fill the empty space with (normally a page or two). I'd like to not make that a continuing habit though :)

The big black cloud reminds me of a conversation I had with my nephew last weekend as I was putting him down for bed. I had just shown him and his brother and sister an animation about Lehi's dream--the dream about the rod of iron leading through mists of darkness and treacherous gulfs to what he called the tree of life with fruit "desirable above all other fruit" (1 Nephi 8:15), but which was near a great and spacious building from which all kinds of mocking and harassments came toward those at the tree to cause those partaking of its delicious fruit to feel ashamed. 

I asked my niece and nephews what their thoughts were after watching the short animation, because I think what is most important is what comes to their minds and hearts. When I asked my little nephew what he was thinking during the animation he said: "the people that let go of the rod of iron in the mists of darkness never got to taste the fruit did they, so they didn't know what the fruit tasted like." (Unfortunately I don't remember his exact words, but that was basically it). It was so thoughtful; I was really amazed. I felt saddened to think that some may never know what the fruit tastes like because when fear and confusion come they let go of the rod, never to find their way back to it, or see the tree and taste of the fruit which is "desirable above all other fruit". 

Mists of darkness are scary. By nature they can be very scary, confusing, and disheartening. I can understand the desire to find a way out into the wide open sunshine that will lift one's spirits and warm the body and soul. People who struggle with seasonal affective disorder know that a cloudy sky can sink their spirits. And if you have ever walked around Wales in the United Kingdom on a bitter cold evening you'll know the feeling of the damp air sinking into your skin and freezing you to the bone. Even when it is not cold, thick mists can be beautiful yet very disorienting. Without the right equipment, and even with it, the thick mists can be somewhat foreboding--causing you to doubt that you are safe, or headed in the right direction.

Many people choose to escape extreme weather conditions and live in more temperate climates--some earlier on in life, and others at retirement. Those who enjoy the inclement weather must prepare themselves with warm layers of clothing and special equipment to provide warmth and orientation. . .



My gratitude for the prophet Joseph Smith & faith

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