You said, remember that life is not meant to be wasted.
We can always be chasing the sun.
So fill up your lungs and just run. We can always be chasing the sun.
Lately I've been reflecting a lot. I'm beginning to realize how beautiful these traits are that I've inherited from my mother, these gifts from God that I love so much.
My love of music, despite having the musical knowledge of how to play an instrument. My mom and I always seemed to love the songs with the lyrics that reached into our souls. The songs that spoke volumes into our lives. The ones that seemed to notice us when the rest of the world didn’t. There are songs I love to this day that are simply because they get me. As if the songwriter knew and noticed a girl with a heart like mine. Many nights my mom would play her radio. While it sometimes drove a wedge through our relationship, I understand now why she did it. Because for 4 minutes, someone sang the words of her heart and she felt loved.
The love we shared of word puzzles and reading books. My mother could have won Wheel of Fortune a million times over. And, hello? Nancy Drew? Who doesn’t love a good mystery novel? Collecting recipes but never really making them (and her BEAUTIFUL handwriting that I wish I had half of, & before you disagree let me just say you’ve never seen her handwriting). Finding comfort in the sound of a rain storm or the ocean waves (so many memories).
There’s a history through her. Sent to us as a gift from the future, to show us the proof.
More than that, it’s to dare us to move. And to open our eyes and learn from the sky.
Chasing the sun for a photograph before it sets for the day. Maybe one of my favorite memories. I wish I knew what photo it was, but I will never forget the day. The sun was setting and it was glorious. My mom drove home as fast as she could to grab her camera and we went down by the water to catch an amazing sunset. Only recently did I realize that I follow her footsteps perfectly when it comes to chasing the glory of the sky. I’ve always been enamored when I look up into the sky, whether during the day or at night. So much beauty that never repeats itself.
And perhaps the biggest of all the traits is my love for art. My mom was an amazing artist. Like, really amazing. Not too long ago someone in the family told me that my artwork reminded them of my mothers and I just felt so moved by that. If you ask me, I don't come a close second to her. But I try. I don’t have any formal training and art wasn’t a thing when I was going to college like it is now. It was the same for my mother. But it’s always been my desire. It’s always been what gives me the greatest joy.
In all of this I've found a new hope. I've always wanted to be better. Graduate high school. Go to college and graduate there. Have a career. Few things left still, owning a home is one of them. So in a lot of ways I've always wanted to overcome the position in life that I was born into. We never had money, we didn't vacation, my parents didn't go to college, work was always just a way to get by. So in all of this, naturally I want to somehow be better, but that desire and the reasons have changed.
I want to do something with my art. I want to do something that would have made my mom proud. To give her a name for the name she gave me. To do something that she wished she could have done. How I want nothing more than her to be a part of that now. Her and I we could have gone into business. I could have seen her genuinely smile. For me that's what it was always all about. My heart hurt when my mom was having a tough time but oh, how I rejoiced when her spirits were lifted.
Just this week I got to do something I never ever dreamed. A few months back I started really asking God to use my gifts to bring Him glory. I wanted to use my art and my writing and my love to bless others. Then out of the blue I was asked if I would be willing to paint some pictures for a church plant that just opened this past weekend. I said yes, at times unsure if I was in over my head and beyond my skill level. But with a paintbrush and a lot of prayers I saw my art hung in church on Saturday. What a feeling, I can't believe it and I wish I could have shared this moment with my mother oh so much.
And the gift of my heartbeat sounds like a symphony.
It’s these things. It’s these moments. When I see her artwork I’ve framed hanging on my wall. Knowing if there was a fire and I could only grab one thing, it would be her artwork. Hands down. She had so much talent but didn’t have the means to further that pursuit. If only she were here now. If only Etsy existed back then. If only.
In a lot of ways I don’t think she saw herself the way others saw her. A complication to a dream that held her back. Gifted and talented. Beautiful. Bursting with life and love. A genuine sweet heart that would give unto others over herself time and time again. In so many ways, I see myself the same way my mother saw herself.
My prayer lately is that I can become the woman that God created me to be. That I could be confident in the way He sees me. That I could overcome the lies and the self-doubt and really just believe that I am capable of reaching so much more. Not to be ashamed to dream but to also put work into those dreams and bring them to life with God’s hand. Not to tear myself down but to let Him build me up.
[*lyrics, Chasing the Sun - Sara Bareilles]