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If walls could talk, what would they say?

Sipping on a cup of coffee, eating authentic Mexican food, talking about anything and everything, we meet at the Granny Kitchen in the Lucero’s home in Clovis, New Mexico.

Many friends and family have put their feet under the Lucero’s kitchen table and great ideas and warm hearts have come from there.

As I sat at the table and admired the faux finishing on my friend’s walls, I needed to e-mail her son, telling him how much his masterpieces meant to me. So I wrote, “I enjoyed looking at the walls in your mother’s kitchen. They are beautiful. You painted and signed those walls with your heart. You are a true artist.”

This was his comment: “Thank you so much! Those works I did during my personal recession are revealing an inner agony to ‘exist.’ Those works were birthed in sheer agony. When I look back on them, it is almost surreal! Thank you for your kind words and your ability to see ‘into”’ the work.

“These last years have shattered all that we believed to be of substance, and from the fragments of life that lay lifeless on the ground mixed with the ashes of many, we begin to reform our selves and our work using only the memory of what we once called our craft and our lives.

”With our remaining strength and our will to exist, we once again test our passions against a very fragile canvas called life. Maybe this is what glory is made of.”

I sent these words to my friend and said, “Never paint over those walls, they tell your son’s story? We almost missed his story because we were enjoying our own story. How sad for us if we had.”

We run from agony. It feels to us those are the times we look so bad and we want to hide from everyone, but in them they are probably some of our most defining moments. We might barely be surviving in a crazy economy, or our bodies are hurting or our hearts are breaking and we are crying out in our pain, but somehow we live in our masterpieces.

One of my friends, who has done some important things in the church community; at one time a leader of several organizations, is now giving care to her aging mother. She said she had cried out to the Lord, “These hands have done some worthwhile things and now look at them. I am homebound, cleaning up and taking care of my mother.”

The Spirit of the Lord said to her “Your hands have never been more beautiful.”

Again I am reminded how beautiful our hands are when our hearts are hurting, or when we are giving beyond ourselves, we are probably living our defining moment.

I have just finished the third draft of a 62,000-word novel on the mysteriouslife of Mary Magdalene. The hook line and the theme throughout is, “A woman knows her own pain.”

Where is this book going? Why did I write it? Who’s going to read it? What’s the next step?

The answer is: I don’t know.

Maybe it is like the walls in the Granny Kitchen. With all the busy activity around the table, all the high power talk and ideas, all the food and good friendship, the walls we write on go unnoticed. But, once in a while a person looks to the side and notices and understands the artist, writer, poet or caregiver and their defining moment.

So the son’s comment, “Those works I did were during my personal recession, revealing an inner agony to “exist.” Those works were birthed in sheer agony. Thank you for your ability to see “into” the work.

Final brushstroke: When we take time to see “into” someone else’s work, we see their test of passion against a very fragile canvas called life.

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Artist’s quote

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reasons for remaining ashore.” — Vincent Van Gogh.

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