A lot can happen in six months. One minute you can be on top of the world and the next minute your world as you’ve known it may no longer exist.
When I last left you, I was on top of the world. Riding the high of seeing all my licensed products in the Creative Co-op showroom in Atlanta. Dumbfounded and bleary-eyed but elated by the scope of this unexpected opportunity.
In the months following the debut I was a proud mother watching all my little baby products go out into the world, following their journey to little gift shops and boutiques throughout the United States…
and even popping up online on One King’s Lane…
I was getting calls and texts and emails and facebook messages reporting little e studio sightings all over the country. I was still selling originals faster than I could paint. I was offered my first solo show (summer of 2013 at the Town Centre Theatre!). I got into my favorite gallery at the beach, The Blue Giraffe. I celebrated my 40th birthday in my favorite spot on earth, Seaside, and was planning my daughter’s 3rd birthday trip to Disney. On top of the world.
Except this one little thing. A lamp next to my bed had a wire that was bent or crimped like a garden hose, possibly compressed under the bedside table leg. The wire was building up heat over time much like that garden hose builds up pressure if it has a kink in it. Could have been a month. Could have been a year. But it finally couldn’t take the heat any more and it caught fire. Burned a hole through our floor, hit an air duct and basically engulfed our house in flames. We were enjoying a leisurely dinner and an art crawl in Franklin. We pulled in as the first engines arrived to see fire erupting from our bedroom and smoke billowing out of our roof. We weren’t home. We weren’t asleep. We weren’t in the basement glossing paintings with a sleeping baby upstairs, which was our original plan for that night. Praise God.
My daughter’s crib was filled with insulation and rafters from the crumbling roof. Our bedroom was nothing but unidentifiable charred fragments. Our white walls were black. My recently remodeled studio, sodden and smoky. My paintings, wet and filthy or broken and burnt. Clothes, books, toys, furniture, memories, heirlooms…gone.
Everything stopped. A seismic shifting of perspective. A window opened which finally cleared out some of the smoke that had been clogging my vision. Because being on top of the world is a precarious position…especially when your foundation has been a bit cracked.
It has been almost two months since the fire. I can say without any hesitation that it is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I have gained far more than I lost. Prior to the fire, I had been reeling in anxiety and depression and loneliness surrounding the death of one of my dearest friends, the pressures of balancing motherhood and a successful new career and moving to a money pit of a new house. Doubt and insecurity. Isolation and co-dependence. Fear and perfectionism. Social awkwardness. Time management issues. Pressure. Busy-ness became my solution. Pour all my time and energy into the one area that is experiencing success and let all other relationships, responsibilities, and opportunities fall to the wayside. Let my world shrink until it is just me and all my lovely fears. Listen to the lies whispered in my ear telling me that I am stuck in this pattern. Pray the only thing that I can even muster energy to say to God…”I can’t do this anymore.”
And then wait for God to light a match.
Watch your neighbors shelter you. Watch your friends keep vigil. Watch your church feed and clothe you. Watch your colleagues rally. Watch your family surround you. Watch strangers respond. Watch your fears recede as your worst fear unfolds. Watch your loneliness contract as your community expands. Watch your stress fade as your priorities realign. Watch doubt ebb while your faith flows. Watch your wants disappear and your needs shrink. Watch your world explode for the better as you see the hands and feet of Jesus in beautiful action.
My family is ensconced in a sweet little rental with a huge yard and a driveway perfect for riding tricycles. We have clothes, toys, books, furniture, toiletries, food. We even have amazing art on our walls thanks to sweet fellow artists who showered me with beauty, encouragement, and offers of studio space.
This weekend marks my re-entry into the world of art. After the fire and lack of inventory forced cancellation of my fall shows, I couldn’t be more excited! The contents restoration company managed to save a miraculous amount of my work so I get to honor my invitation to participate in the Fine Art in Brentwood Show and Sale this weekend. http://www.brentwoodacademy.com/page.cfm?p=3586
Friday, November 30, 5:30-8:30…Opening night with free food and beverages
Saturday, December 1, 10-6:00
Sunday, December 2, 1-5
If you’ve ever wanted to see what an answered prayer looks like, come see me and my paintings this weekend.
We have been restored.
with a heart filled with gratitude to all who have prayed, encouraged, and lavished me with love and donations,