As 2009 winds down I find myself reflecting over the events of the past year. It has been a year of trials to be sure, but trials with a purpose that have brought about significant changes and set me on a path that will lead me even closer to being the person I know I was created to be. As difficult as the year has been I believe it has been one of the most significant in my life to date and I count the blessings that have come from it as I look back.
Tops on my list is the many friends that I have made and grown closer to. Friends that I see in my daily life and really dear friends that I have met online, some I have met face to face and others I only hope to some day. I have both been encouraged by and had the opportunity to encourage and many days of just hanging out, drinking coffee, virtual or real, and sharing life.
One friend and very talented artist, Sue Simpson, I have known online for some time has been mourning the loss of her mom these past few months. Especially difficult through the holidays, but in spite of her grief she has taken the time to write me words of encouragement that I will forever cherish and I've asked her permission to share this story with you.
"I took a walk on the beach once when I was feeling confused and alone. We live within walking distance to a beach I grew up playing on. It is rock instead of sand. Sand is when the tide is out. As I entered the beach area talking to God about my dilemma, I looked down to find a white rock, all by itself among the gray and black ones. I thought to myself, this is how I am feeling, alone. I looked a few inches further and there was another white rock. This one was a little bit bigger than the first, Jesus said, see here I am, always with you. Then another white rock, this one bigger than the rest. This is your family, our community, those who love you and whom I love. You my friend are never alone. Times will feel lonely, but you are not alone. Times may feel confusing, did I do the right thing? I will be beside you to guide you. Times will feel joyful, I will share in that joy and times may feel like a very doubtful future but I am here with you and will guide you along the way.
I kept those rocks for a long time. I am sure they are here in my studio, somewhere. Although that first rock looked like the only, lonely white rock.....it was within company of others. And most importantly not alone but with Jesus near by."
Sue has had a year of trials herself and these words were not lightly written. She has weathered many losses this year and I admire her for being able to reach out and share these words with me in the midst of her own pain. Be sure to take a peek at her blog and leave her a note and check out her etsy shop, Earthtone Studios, to see her beautiful work.
Inspired by Sue, I've titled this piece "You Are Not Alone". It is the first in a series of encaustic collage works done on salvaged antique board and wood scraps. I'm not quite sure how I want to mount it for display so I will be hanging on to it for a while but be sure to stop by OPF Studio at Etsy for more encaustic works.