The problem with painting is that it's hard to see the bigger picture. You zero in on tiny little details, blank spots, unfinished blobs, and imperfections. You notice the colors and contrasts, unsatisfied that they are apparent. You want it all to blend, to come together, to gel into a sudden magical burst of light.
Stepping away is useful in these types of situations.
Thursday marks the one year date since Poppa (my father-in-law) slipped away. The days have flown past us since then, catching us up in the whirlwind of change and moving on. But the days don't separate you from the feelings. I can still feel his sandpaper cheeks against my lips when I kissed him. And I remember the moment we came back into the hospital to say good-bye. He was already fading fast, the machines registering the slowing down of his heart and breath. As we stood there together - Scott, Eric and I - holding on to each other, Poppa heaved a great heavy sigh. Something like relief mingled with release. It took less than five minutes for him to leave us behind.
He was running to his Annie.
I am sure, at the end of all things, I'll be able to see that bigger picture. I'll be able to look back at the Master's strokes and find the beauty there. I can see glimpses of it now, moments of peace interwoven in the tapestry of my life. Like that sigh. Like that restful moment when I roll over and realize I'm not alone in my bed. Like when my daughter falls asleep against my chest and I am free to examine her perfect face. Like when my son sits on my lap and I can look down his profile and see the magic of creation right before me.
The perfect brushstrokes of life, blending together, turning into light.