Wednesday, October 17

GOODBYE TO A DEAR FRIEND

Dear Readers,
I have been debating whether or not to spare you the emotional wreckage of the grief I currently find myself in...then I decided, If I can't be ME on an ART blog, WHERE can I be ME?

So I am sharing with you the fact that I have lost someone so dear, so near my heart, I can scarcely find words to express it. (those of you who know me know it's an unusual thing for me to be at a loss for words). However, Thursday last, my precious friend, spiritual director, pastor and fellow artist gave up the long, painful battle with bone cancer.

My friend Deb Smith was one of those rare individuals who was true to who she was, regardless the expectations of those around her. To say she was not "typical" doesn't even BEGIN to do justice to the unique and precious qualities this woman possessed.

One of the things which our friendship shared was a desire to create something beautiful out of... well, whatever we could find. (She saw beauty in EVERYTHING so EVERYTHING was "up for grabs" when it came to her artwork!) She encouraged and inspired me to "work big" and get my art off a journal page and onto a canvas (24x18...which was HUGE for me!) She walked me through the therapeutic process of being "bold" on canvas, in whatever medium I chose to use...and then encouraged me to find a symbol (much like the tattoo (I TOLD you she was not your stereotypical pastor!) she had on her ankle) to use in every piece of my art. For me, it was a leaf...green, growing, seasonal. It seemed to fit.

Deb's art was bold and expressive and deeply symbolic. Here is a piece she painted for me to mark the occasion of my graduation from seminary:



I can't begin to express how I'll miss her...and what she brought into my life.

To read more about this amazing woman, you can go to: http://www.lovingdebsmith.blogspot.com for a tribute written by her oldest daughter, Charity. You can also check out the "official" obituary here: Mt. Vernon Register News.

I believe the world is always a little darker, a little less amazing when we lose the light of an artist. Deb epitomized Matthew 5:16: "Let you light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven."

May we all seek to shine as brightly.

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

Paula,
I am so so sorry to hear of your loss and the loss to the wider world. I am sure the web of relationships that Deb creating and nurtured throughout her amazing life will continue to bless. Thank you for sharing all that she meant to you so that people like me who did not have the honor of meeting her can know her still.

May God be a source of peace for you throughout your grieving and remembering.
Stephanie

ngaire Bartlam said...

Paula.
( sung with a huge lust for life!!!)
Row row row your boat
gently down the stream.
merrily merrily merrily merrily
life is but a dream.

peace and all the good things.
Ngaire
xxxx