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Our Song out of Sorrow

We are artists and writers.

We can’t help ourselves. It is who we are and what we do.

I said I would never write another book, I am enjoying writing articles and I am satisfied. I console myself; there are millions of books on the shelves about every subject imaginable. Writing a book is one thing, getting it published is another thing. It’s like putting our lives on hold for years for a single idea. So why would I write a book? Why would I spend days, weeks and months researching, writing, re-writing, starting over again and editing? Then after two or three more final drafts, it might be ready, but maybe not. A publisher will rip it to pieces and we rework it all over again. It’s called, “Being a writer.”

Some of us have a battle cry deep inside of our bosoms. I believe we are born with that pioneer spirit to take untamed land. It’s not we ask for that identity but the more we live and learn, the more aware we become and the need to express becomes stronger.

Artists and writers are like the battle horse in Job Chapter 39. God explains the horse like this; the horse’s eye is on the battle, he paws in the valley, the silver dangles on his sides but it does not turn his head, and the light catches the edge of the sword but it does not frighten him. He eats up the distance with speed. His body is built in perfect symmetry and with the other horses he stands symmetrically for battle.

Al says to me, “Betty; not all horses are made for battle.”

“That’s news to me. I haven’t thought of it that way before. I just know it’s in me. Doesn’t everyone have a passion for making a difference and leading an army on a crusade?”

Al says, “No! Some are called for a different task and make a difference in a different way. Take the Clydesdale horses, the premium of horses, look at their feet; they are bred for show and to pull large loads which other horses cannot do. They are excellent work horses. The quarter horse is made to run a quarter of a mile, and the race horse with their little legs can run faster and longer.”

So artists and writers are a rare breed. Most of us stay on the front line with ideas ahead of our time. That spirit takes us to the front of the battle. We have the courage and commitment to lay ourselves bare by putting our hearts on the line to be accepted or rejected. We are shot at, but we will show our sorrow if it will bring clarity to someone else’s life. We will show the hole in our shoe, in a manner of speaking, if it will give someone else courage.

“If poets learn in sorrow what they teach in song, may not the glory of the song justify the experience of the sorrow, and so explain some of the mystery of it.” I love this quote which came from a commentary on Job. And I say “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

Painting and writing out of our own experiences is like a spider who spins his matter out of his own bowels. It doesn’t sound very appetizing, but we must bring from who we are without any apologies. Our artistic creations have our finger prints all over them and it shows who we are.

My children and husband Al roll their eyes, but they don’t flinch anymore when I tell them I am into another project. They have quit asking “Why?” They know I am going to paint and write because that’s who I am, and some day I will leave my thumb print behind on something or hopefully on someone.

Painting and writing is like finding a golden nugget and we feel the need to show others where to dig. We are willing to share our goldmine with whoever will take us seriously because that is the nature of the gift. If we write and no one reads it, we are left in bewilderment. If we paint, and no one sees the beauty we feel, we are disappointed. But if we stir a desire or a new idea in someone else, then we are complete.

Final brushstroke: So, my artist and writer friends, take courage. You are made for the front line of battle. Bring your thoughts to the blank page, your ideas to the white canvas and share your song with whoever will sing your words. They may touch your sorrow, but you will show them how to write and sing their own song.

Readers’ comments

Send in your thoughts, I will pass them on to the other readers. E-mail

Dear Betty:

Congratulations on your golden anniversary, I love the piece! The opening line struck me. I’ve always believed in aspiring for something that you have a great desire for and the determination to get it. It was one of my American grandfather’s sayings - I always remembered that to this day, I have even applied it to my life. 

Specializing in the field of psychiatry here in the U.S. after medicine in the Philippines has been my lifelong dream! I had to make a choice with career and my practical side, (and advise from Mom of course) says love can be later. I’ve made the choice and sometimes in my little doctor’s office after listening to depressed patients with relationships going awry, I ponder about a lot of things. I do think everything should be a balance. God also works in mysterious ways. Though I admittedly am not religious, I still sometimes find myself trying to find Him in every way. Thanks for letting me realize how important He is. I now appreciate whatever He gives me. I try to appreciate the littlest of things.

The article is so cute! I think it’s really lovely how you met, and even lovelier how you’ve managed to be together, still full of love. 


Cleveland, Ohio

Dear Betty:

I agree when we perceive the eternal, which only God can give, it is moving. When I read of you, Al, and your family having a hard time I could not help being heartbroken for you. I guess one could say I was able to share what ever sadness you may have felt and shed tears for you. Being rich, is able to feel love, compassion, as well as realizing our God loves, cares and provides — eternally. It is equally as moving to know God will use us, being so unworthy. Some years ago we were in a evangelistic meeting in Albuquerque. By Wednesday all the ”important” preachers had went home, and some of us, who had very small churches, were left for the service. Ill never forget that meeting! First of all it was evident his preaching notes were worthless. The message he delivered to us was this: “I am Richard Jackson, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona, and my weekly budget is $52,000 a week. (This in the ’70s}. However “If you are God’s man, and where God wants you, and doing God’s work, you are the most important person on the face of the earth.. Sometimes I feel as if our ministry is so insignificant. But these words tend to remind me, perhaps this is not so! I occasionally remind our men, women, and children — you are included. So are you and Al.

Vaya Con Dios,


Deming, N.M.

Artist’s Quote

“It’s not what you are that holds you back; it’s what you think you’re not.” — Denis Waitley.