I nearly died a couple of months ago.
At first I was in denial. I didn’t take it very seriously, but as time goes by and I feel better and better, I truly begin to understand how badly I felt–how close to dying I actually was. I had a friend try to warn me, once, that he was not going to be around much longer. He died within weeks of telling me that.
He understood how close he was.
I thought he was crazy. He was active–a runner. Played ball five nights a week. How could he be sick? But he was, and he knew it. And he understood what was happening. Eventually his heart stopped. Just like that–while he stood on the pitcher’s mound at a game. He collapsed and was gone.
So once I began to understand what was happening to me, and believe it, everything changed. Everything. My perspective about every nuance of my life changed.
First came the disbelief. Then came the fight to live. Then came acceptance that we have so little control over so many things. Then–thankfully–then came the knowledge that we DO have control over some things. Like gratitude. Deep, intense gratitude for everything– the soft glow of green that surrounds us in Spring, the way my dogs’ tails wag when I look at them, the photos my kids share of their families on Facebook. Such gratitude. For every little thing.
One thing I am immensely grateful for is my artistic abilities. They are God-given. I did not learn art in school. I was born with it. My grandfather was an artist. I imagine some of my ancestors before him were too. And I understand that this gift was given to me to give back to the world. I’m to create beauty all around me.
But that’s not my favorite part of my artistic ability. My favorite part is that I’ve found a way to share it, and to spread it with friends, but also with strangers. I love to create art, but I adore helping others create art. I enjoy the process of getting to know them–of watching them allow their vulnerability, of trusting me to help, and of overcoming fears. I drink in every moment of the experience, and I wanted to take a moment to tell you all how grateful I am for you.
You think I am here to make a living, but what you don’t understand is that I do what I do because it gives me life.
You give me life. You give me intense joy.
My health is on the mend. I’ve made drastic changes to my existence–where I spend my time, what I eat, how I move my body. They’ve all made a huge difference and begun the process of healing my heart muscle. But the most important change outside of those things was deciding to focus my occupational attention closer to the thing that brings me joy–which is spending time with all of you.
Thank you for supporting me, for taking my classes, and for gathering me together with your friends and family. You all mean the world to me. My hope is to continue to bring you art and joy for many years to come, and I’ll be doing everything I can on my part to make that happen. But tomorrow is never guaranteed, so I wanted to be sure to say thank you. Please know that you have made my life sweeter just by being part of it.
Have a blessed and joyful day.