Wednesday, February 22, 2012

To All the Friends I’ve Known and Loved

Finished painting: "Hey, Coconut Mon!" -- 18x24 mixed media on canvas

Do you believe that there is only one right relationship, one perfect painting, one right way to live your life, one opportunity that when lost is gone forever? If you do, you’d better change your perspective. If there’s one thing I've learned it is this:  life is a struggle, and it can be downright grungy and gritty in the trenches. But if you hold on to your faith and your identity, it will get better.

 Once there were people in my life who scolded and criticized every word, every action until I didn’t know what to do to please them or to make them happy. These were the spear throwers, the dagger stabbers, the poison arrows of envy, and hatred. It’s impossible to feel loved when you’re constantly under attack, when the eyes that look at you are filled with disgust, loathing, or anger and soon you begin to hate yourself.

I've also learned that love doesn’t always last even though you want it to. Why? Because there are no perfect people. But just as you can love another child, even though your “quiver” or your house may be full; you can always find room in your heart for another child or for someone else.

"Broken" -- 11x14 mixed media on panel SOLD

I’m grateful for the people who have come in and out of my life. Even though the relationships were not perfect or even healthy, I learned something treasured from each of them. I not only learned things I didn’t know about myself, I learned fresh ideas and discovered new things that made me who I am today. I’m thankful for each friend and for each person who has ever touched my life, even in a small way.

Barbara Streisand sang: “People, people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” For the first time in my life, I know exactly what she means. We not only need each other and depend on each other, we add something unique and special to everyone we meet and they to us.

 I treasure the friend who taught me about fire stations, and fire engines, and instilled in me a love for antique cars. I will never see another auto show or ride in a classic car without thinking of him. I treasure the friends who loved me for who I am. With them, I didn’t have to be self conscious. I didn’t have to walk on eggs, or be afraid of offending them anymore than they could offend me. Acceptance not approval is what makes us truly happy.

"A Joyful Heart" -- 9x12 Pastel

To hear someone laugh at my fractured jokes, or tolerate my irritating habits and still love me is a blessing. Feeling that you’re attractive and beautiful even without makeup – now that’s something! It's not what’s said, it’s the smile on the face and the glow of love in the eyes. When you are loved you know it deep down inside. You can tell when someone is genuinely pleased with you or not.

The friends and lovers who take us back when we’re quick tempered or sad reminds us of our frail humanity. Friends keep us humble, and bring us joy. Today, I’m thankful for all the friends I have known, and for those who will yet come into my life.

"Tansy's Pride" -- 9x12 Pastel