Today was Artist Date day, which I have come to look forward to each week as I am working through The Artist’s Way course. As I have shared previously, in ways I can’t fully explain my inner creative child is in sync with the upcoming chapter each week. Although I have no idea whether this trend will continue, it does create a heightened curiosity as I set out on a date with myself every Sunday afternoon.
As I was getting ready for the day, I was still unsure about what my creative date would be today. I was asking my inner child for ideas. It was as I was taking a shower that an interesting series of thoughts began. (I have to add that some of my best thinking occurs in the shower!)
From nowhere, seemingly, a memory arose from long ago. I was 19 years old, newly married, and Greg and I were invited to friends’ house for dinner. I stood in the kitchen, watching my friend as she made biscuits. She didn’t have milk, so she used tap water to create the dough, talking cheerfully to me as she kneaded the sticky mass. I’d never seen anyone knead biscuit dough, but those were the best biscuits I’d ever eaten. We had a simple meal with our friends and their two children – fresh vegetables from their large garden, scrambled eggs and those tender biscuits.
As I was helping to clean up after dinner, I opened the trash bin to toss paper napkins and such. I noticed empty baby food jars in the bin. I asked my friend if she had baby-sat that day. She smiled and explained that the baby food was left over from a prior baby-sitting job. She went on to say that her husband and kids had eaten the baby food for lunch that day. Seeing my look of surprise, she said that money was a bit tight right now.
I was stunned. And I felt horrible that Greg and I had eaten food that would have stretched further otherwise. My friend was quick to assure me that all was well. The money situation was temporary, the garden was just starting to produce and would provide many meals over the summer, and there was always enough to share. Before we left, I whispered to Greg and he gave that little family what cash he had in his pocket. It wasn’t much. But it would purchase some basic groceries.
That was the memory that surprised me in the shower. At the time, my youth and lack of life experience caused me to miss some vital things. What I realized today was that my friend truly was content and unafraid. As I watched her make biscuits long ago, she chatted, hummed and sang softly as she kneaded the dough, an indomitable woman who knew there was more to life than the circumstances surrounding her. She had a sweet spirit of trust and gratitude, and she was generous, sharing what she had, knowing more would be provided. I remembered that in the years I knew her, before she moved away, I never heard her complain about anything.
To have those memories stir, out of the blue, alerted me that my inner creative child and the Divine were at work. I asked for an image, so I’d know where to go on my date. I saw myself at Wildcat Park, feeding the ducks. Perfect! It was a beautiful day. I thought the ducks would be gone at this time of year but I packed a couple of pieces of bread anyway. I saw myself sketching. Ahhhh…an even better idea. Take along my pencils and sketch pad and allow my artistic self free reign. And I knew that somehow my thoughts about my friend were connected.
It was beautiful at the park. The ducks were, indeed, gone. I found a picnic table near the river. Set out my pencils. Opened to a clean page in my sketch pad. I used to draw often. I was a fair artist. But I’ve had this sketch pad for years and it’s barely used. I’ve lost confidence in my ability to bring to paper the images in my head. Today, I got out of my own way and allowed my inner artist, that creative child, to draw. Quickly I sketched, thinking about my friend, remembering how quietly joyful she was as she kneaded that biscuit dough, made with water instead of milk. I saw her hands, in my mind. I drew her hands. A quote came to mind, “Gratitude turns what you have into enough.” She knew that, way back then. She knew a deep truth about abundance, and experienced it as part of her daily life. I added the quote to my drawing.
As the sun was setting, I sat in the peaceful stillness, and watched the river flow past. So many things are shifting in my life. I love how creativity is awakening, love the daily ongoing conversations with the Divine, love how rich and full life is as I allow myself to be drawn, to be guided. I feel that sense of abundance that my friend demonstrated all those years before. I’m grateful for that memory. I’ve now captured it and I’ll frame that little sketch and place it in my studio. I could title it “Abundance”.
I read the next chapter in The Artist’s Way after I returned home. Week Six: Recovering a Sense of Abundance. I’m no longer surprised that this series of synchronicities is unfolding the way it is. I accept it. I’m grateful. And I’m excited to see what happens next!