I don't buy tickets for the lottery, cake walks or raffles - unless it's for charity. I experience at least my fair share of good fortune, but I'm just not one of those 'lucky' people. How does one improve odds? Or is it luck or coincidence anyway... accident or fate? A bit of research reveals beliefs that are as varied as they are fascinating.
There are schools of thought that ponder whether fate can be explained by mathematical occurrences; some believe that every move is guided by the hand of God, driven by fate. Then there is Deepak Chopra's Synchrodestiny, the magic of connecting with the underlying field of infinite possibilities; the ability to see amazing potential in every moment. If, in fact, we study these convenient occurrences, we can even increase the number and quality of our daily coincidences.
From a mathematical perspective, I had fairly decent odds of winning the Fairy Girl Bird Box, a beautiful creation by Ragamuffin Gal, (she picked post number 7 of 32, and I was the lucky 7:) But the timing felt more like providence, the nudge I needed, the lifting of spirits.
About a year and a half after being diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder (certainly not terminal but an annoyance nonetheless), I began to view my chronic illness as a journey and my faith deepened immensely. I had been stopped in my tracks and believed there was a reason and whether or not I ever think I understand isn't up to me; I can only control how I choose to respond, decide what kind of person will I be as a result of this altered state of living.
I'm far from crippled but the changes in my daily life have been profound. I've calculated the number of hours lost to mandatory rest and sleep, moving slower, feeling downright yucky and it’s the equivalent of a full-time job. Like the one I had before I got sick. At the business my husband and I started in 1990; the role that I realized was the most significant facet of my identity, when it slid away as the months at home passed.
But if this is a journey then there is a path; once I began trusting that God does build the bridge of faith beneath our feet rather than a few hundred yards ahead so we can conveniently see where we are headed, I became less fearful of taking a few steps.
I walked into the world of mixed media art. I had never considered myself an artist, though I had been writing all my life, been immersed in photography, had the need to paste together, rearrange, smudge, blur images into a meaningful composition. My husband is an illustrator and painter so I had access to the tools I needed, and after stocking up at some amazing online art stores I started experimenting with collage. Once I hit that Flow zone (I highly recommend the outstanding article on the subject) I was hooked and now, almost two years later I can hardly imagine life without art. I don't believe I got sick because God intended for me to make art, though, this path has unfolded as though it was meant to be.
In the short months that I've been blogging I have connected with such a remarkable group of mixed media artists, nearly all with far more experience than I, who have inspired, uplifted, amazed and encouraged. This doesn't seem accidental at all but like I have finally discovered the reason behind my pack rat habits - saving old letters and photos and jewelry from the 70s, along with stashes of paper and cool doodads - and a passion that makes use of latent talents along with some surprises.
I may not be a career artist, but if I hadn't gotten sick I doubt I'd have tested my wings, not when billable hours were on the table.
I still suffer waves of guilt when the business is stretched and there are so many chores to be done. But it's getting a bit easier. Every minute I've spent crafting, exploring, has been the silver lining, the lemonade from this tart illness. That it is new also makes it vulnerable, fragile; too much time away and my dreams fade. This summer was packed with events and demands that left no time for art. After a few weeks I fell into a funk.
I knew I'd succumbed when poring over the magazines and artist's blogs cram packed with amazing art, adventure, forward motion. While catching up on a few of my favorites I read a post by Ragamuffin Girl about how splintered her time had been as a result of complications that would have been funny if they hadn’t caused some material damage. Then the next sentence listed my name as winner of her drawing... I would be receiving her delightful creation.
Ask and you shall receive. Begin to sag and out of the blue experience a nudge of encouragement. Could it really be that simple? Or, lucky? Coincidental?
I hope you enjoy these photographs of Ragamuffin Pal’s work – it’s truly amazing and much more detailed than those she posted on her site. The word 'Hope' appears in type, on a silver charm and rests, a solid egg nested as I await my return to the studio with renewed faith.