I talked with my friend, Jerry McCoy, today. I’ve missed him…as we met for quite a while earlier in the year. My ‘painting’ schedule freed up a bit, so I met with him again today. By the way, you really need to hear his ‘story’. Talk about being taken into the deep…you really need to hear it, a story of incredible loss and redemption. And, he gives to me…out of that experience. Today, he was particularly unrestrained in his challenge for me to take on a daily discipline of writing. He referenced ‘talent’ going to waste as one motivation, but I suspect it comes from an energy he is experiencing himself…he just published an 83-page photo essay on sanctuaries in Indiana. “Write one page every day”, he repeated. A tip from none other than John Grisham, but Jerry felt particularly energetic to pass that challenge along to me. I feel I should take his admonishment as more than from just him today; I can’t help but sense that this is a word from God. Particularly since I believe it was He who nudged me to do this several months ago on one long run I had with Him.
“Do it because you can’t not do it”, he said; “don’t do it because of the ‘potential’ marketability of doing so…you’ll stop too soon from the weight of all the reasons not to proceed.”
Coming from him, this seems like excellent advice, as I’ve watched from a bit of a distance as he has pursued professional photography to a very high level…without much ‘commercial success’, so far.
So besides documenting my encounters with life, in this way, I wonder what all is going on inside of me. Reporting, a bit, to him on how things are going, I mentioned that I feel like I am sliding into the stage of grief commonly referred to as acceptance. Acceptance of what, I even ask myself. As best I can tell, acceptance of the fact that life will likely not ‘return’ to a pattern of work that I have, from a career perspective, been comfortable with for 20 years. I have been trying to pry open the door of employment in fields of experience I have had for 18 months now, all to no apparent avail. While I still find my head submerged in one of the other stages of grief, ‘anger’, from time to time, by and large I feel a sense that life has changed…in terms of what I do in it, especially related to how I earn income. The shock of this, though still deafening at times, is slowly wearing off and I find more of a curiosity about the future than anxiety over the past. This seems like it would have to be no small movement, especially if I were noticing it in someone else. So, I’m guessing it must apply to me as well…though certainly in a still slightly less forgiving way.
When you can’t hold on to something, and then you can’t reach it, and then you can’t even see it very well, you seem to notice yourself looking around for something else to grab. The emotional connection with the familiar past can’t sustain energy in the present environment…as the present does its work to require a response to itself. And, with the finite amount of energy we have to begin with, there appears to something almost natural about its flow to what is around you now. Like water heading to lower ground…it just gets there one way or another, without complaining about the latest obstacle or the amount of time it takes to arrive.
Now there’s something to think about…