"The Undivided Self", 30 x 60. $2800
There are moments when we come to the table whole.
When that old uncertainty is only a distant memory.
Inhale. We sparkle.
Jen lives far away, tucked in the trees.
She phones me.
Her 7-year goal, all that tenacity and sweat, has proved unfruitful. She lists the details.
She curses both her efforts and the obstructions.
She throws in the towel, reclaims it, and yearns to give up all over again.
Life is like that.
For all of us.
The details vary a little.
I have only a small cracker of listening to offer her.
Some constriction in my throat prevents me from saying:
But you are wonderful!
Your smile fills my heart! You are transparent and funny and smart.
This metric you are using to judge your life, these badges you strive for, that doctoral thesis committee, that publication….
They don’t matter!
Go dip your paddle in the water.
Watch the water swirl.
Open your bag of little textile samples that you so love.
Find that tin box with a collection of bones you found on the trail. Move your wood pile closer to the door.
Claim the exquisite fabric of your life.
Let it be yours.
I can only nod into the phone, hoping one day she might see herself.
Not through quoting and citations.
Not through the critical eyes of her gatekeeping thesis committee.
But as I see her.