Sunday, August 10, 2008

Art, faith, mystery

"Life is surreal and people are crazy." That thought wiggles its way through the calm faith-filled places in my mind and sits looking at me waiting for agreement or some panicked emotional response. I have obliged it at times. Circumstances lean heavily toward the sorrowful and surreal. I am distracted while driving. I think, I pray. Sometimes I cry. I want to catch up on my growing to-do list, but settle for what seems the highest priority for just this moment. I want 2 weeks of nothing at home or 2 months of re-couping and quiet work at a hideaway-- say, a lake house in the south. Despite my emotional upheavals, life is precious, valuable, and good. I am, oh so aware...and thankful.

My mom was here for 10 days. She left on Wednesday. I was exhausted, but only had a couple of days to gather tons of art supplies and objects and pack for the mixed-media assemblage workshop which I had registered for months ago. "Art, Faith, Mystery." I resonated with the tagline of Image, the journal sponsoring the Glen workshops. I was excited to have a whole week devoted to creating art in the company of like-minded souls, hearing poetry readings, worshipping together. I got some laundry done and hoped to begin gathering stuff the next morning (when I had more energy.) Thursday night we got a call at 3:20 a.m. Our middle son had sustained a brain injury and was being air-lifted to a Denver hospital which specializes in trauma. I cannot accurately describe what receiving that call felt like as a parent, or what the next 20 hours felt like in ICU. I won't re-tell the story at this time, but will say that my son is doing well, no surgery was necessary, no permanent damage is evident, and he returned to work briefly yesterday. No less than a miracle to us when 2 weeks ago he had bleeding on the brain after being assaulted.

He was doing so well, having been released from the hospital by Sat. afternoon, that I was encouraged by many people, especially my husband, to go ahead and go to Santa Fe to the arts workshop. For my own health's sake. It was a tough call and I realized it was kind of a matter of trust. As my son rested could my husband be on call to take him a glass of water, be alert to any signs of problems, etc. as good as I could? ("of course not", my emotions said.) I started to pack just in case, but couldn't focus or get organized and didn't make a firm decision about going until evening.

The next morning I left with very mixed feelings. The week in Santa Fe turned out to be a beautiful gift of community and support with wonderful new friends, re-connecting with old friends, and hours of tiring and consuming work on my assemblage pieces. Just the kind of distraction I probably needed. Being in a highly creative environment with people who have very similar aesthetic sensibilities and high motivation and interest was refreshing and re-invigorating on some deep levels. I was still lacking energy, still checking in with home for updates on how the guys were doing, and was way too uncomfortable without air-conditioning (we had none of the promised afternoon showers that week.) But, I was tired in a good way and some emotional things were being processed and worked out through my art.

Then:
  • The morning after I returned home, I took my son to the hospital to have the staples removed from his head. On the way we got a call from my youngest son that his rental house had been crashed into by a drunk driver the previous evening. People in the neighborhood had heard the driver revving his engine before he took off and careened through yards, hit a garage, and landed in my son's house. No one was hurt and all but one roommate were not at home. Since the house was not habitable, they were renting a U-Haul to get everything out and find shelter at friends' or parents' houses. Bizarre. But I am grateful the potentially dangerous crash didn't happen a few hours later when all were asleep in the house.

  • My husband's work truck was hit by an elderly woman who didn't look before she pulled into his lane a few days ago. No injuries and little damage.

  • My mom started having debilitating symptoms and health issues last weekend. She is starting to get better after discontinuing some new medication.

  • Yesterday we found out about a terrible auto accident claiming 3 young lives. The driver seems to have been speeding away from a sobriety checkpoint on I-25. The lone survivor (in serious condition) turns out to be the brother of my middle son's very good friend (who was with our son the night he was injured.) I keep thinking of his family and especially the parents of the 3 who died.

Alcohol abuse was a factor in the 3 major incidents. I am crazy mad about it and trying to turn it toward prayer as it flashes before me.

In the midst of these heart-wrenching events, there are the precious reminders and moments of redemption. Life is still going on, my older son returned safely from Turkey, my younger sons are okay, some relationship building has happened between my son and his father through that week together, we finally picked up the new sofa my mom bought for us, and we had a good overnight visit with our old friends who were here earlier in the week. It's just funny that some of the things that seemed important a few weeks ago don't seem so important now.

I now have one week to do whatever needs to be done for the art event at church that I am in charge of (the visual arts portion.) Thankfully we can use the art walls we made last year and I am not as stressed about how to set up and hang the art. Art, faith, mystery...in the midst of how surreal life can be. Let us give thanks.

2 Comments:

Blogger Phyl said...

Jenny,
My head is spinning just reading this. I can only imagine how you're holding up in this surreal season. I'm glad you got to go to Santa Fe. Holding you up, Phyllis

2:18 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Phyllis, Thanks for thinking of me and holding me up!

2:01 PM  

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