(A little long, not fully crafted, but points are made)
It was a tough day. My sinuses were bad. My dishwasher had given way, and my refrigerator was too cold and wouldn't adjust. Just some practical pain thrown my way. Irving, my car, whom I was trying to keep alive, was receiving bad care. The first mechanic put in a coil pack, plus cleaned the fuel lines, costing $269. The problem was not solved. I would not go back to him. Other mechanics were recommended but far away. According to Mitch, my friend, all that was needed might have been to have the wires changed, costing a mere 32 dollars. Anyhow, after two mechanics later, the car seems terminally ill, on life support until Wednesday evening when fuel injectors will be inserted. This last mechanic might also have made a mistake, because the car never shook before he worked on it. Mitch suggested it might have been purposeful. I hope not and said I can't live with such distrust.
Anyhow, my car is very old and many say I should get rid of it. But I became attached to it, the engine before all this sounded healthy, it was good for local chores, and I didn't want to face purchasing a new one. Now I might have to.
So that night my sleep was restless. It is one thing to spend money unnecessarily. It is another thing to feel possibly cheated. That's irritating to the core. There were also the usual health concerns that had to be put on hold until this was resolved. Whether stress induced or just due to the pollen my sinuses were bad that night. Maybe a couple of hours of sleep was had. Pain, discomfort, can humble one.
I had not related to the above in a while. I had not heard anything for a time. That morning I did. The tone was clear and comforting yet firm. I asked questions, small and large, and seemed to get answers. The future could not be told, but an approach was offered to each situation. I brought all the physical pain I was feeling before God and asked why did I have these problems. Weren't they a bit much? I had them since a child. God seemed to answer "as a child you suffered a lot. You were up nights. You were alone, I know.It's the soup you were from. It was the resistance you had to live through, that you had to spring forth from it. The pain and suffering is you."
Hearing this caused a shift in my head. The pain and discomfort was no longer the enemy. It was part of the existence from which I emerged from. I felt empathy for my whole life. It was all rolled into one ball. How could I isolate the pain and extract it as if it was disconnected from me? God said "Life is molded from pain in a sense. It is the pressure that moves you. It drives you towards me. Or more simply it is the force to move forward." (Some might think this is 'nuts.' Maybe not. I am no child. I have been practical. Why should I deceive myself so at this point? It's possible it's deception, but probably not. One can hear from God. That is there for us. I'll say one thing however. One has to be in a small place to do so. Also, when one is down one should look in all places for relief and answers. This is one place to look, a special place.)
Anyhow, as mentioned above, many other such points were reviewed. Even the day's schedule was discussed. At one point I thought it was time for me to read a page of the Siddur but I heard "why read wise men when you can speak to me directly now?" God even said "think about finishing cleaning the kitchen shelves." His voice was clear and healthy and uplifting. So I did. I didn't finish them but spent a couple of hours arranging compartments and then reviewing what I had to do in the closet outside the house. The items, household items and hardware, were interrelated. Much of of it was from the original owners. There were bathroom appliances and parts, kitchen parts, oven parts, cabinet part, drapery part, etc and all had to be sorted. Somehow it was no longer intimidating. It was also part of my life. There was even a certain intimacy to it. The slurge was also me.
Putting these items in order was part of handling the past. It was the grunge work. I complained to God I could not clean up all the past. He said "some effort had to be shown in that direction. Otherwise it's hard to move on. You'll at least establish categories. The past also has to be fluid." Makes sense. Plus, results in this world were not everything. My internal intent counted too. If my future expanded I would be ready. If I moved on to a higher realm things would be left clean, or at least cleaner.
Around 3 or 4 pm I picked up a brush to work on my small 3 by 6" oil painting. This was an attempt to paint again. I missed the feel of oil and pigment on the brush and the miracle of a stroke that left a mark. This was to be my final arrow into the future but not an easy mark. I was able to put a sketch on canvas, but painting it was another thing. Using stand oil, linseed oil and a product by Gamsol dictated how I was to paint. I did not try to fight my materials. Well, maybe a little. The principle of working with them and harmonizing what came out was foremost. The figure, like my sketches, was primitive but workable at this point.
Until this point there had recently been defeats. I could not paint with turps or mineral spirits as they made me sick, even diluted versions. I tried but the headaches started. I tried water based oils but the results and approach was similar to water colors. That was to alien for me. So now I just went with pigment and the oils. It seemed to work. There was a figure, albeit primitive, but it was workable. Later, I looked at the work with a mirror and the foreground was too dark. I scumbled the darkish brown with white and a taint of ultramarine mixed with stand oil Voila, the foreground became lighter. It stayed in the same family as the sky and figure. It could be lightened or darkened and have burnt sienna or ultramarine added and still work. I had a system. A way to work and evolveit.
There were possibilities. Before this scumbling there still was a question mark. But once done and seeing the positive results there was no doubt I had a way, a language to work with. It's not related to my detailed drawings, but it's way of working that can evolve with time. No, it's not genius. It's a 'way' though and that's all I ask for. It connects me with paints and a means of expression and can serve the bigger purpose. So, with all the pain, followed by the grunt work, a form of expression was born. It's not finished yet, but it's workable. It's there.
On the next day I told my ex wife about this experience. She said well, that was the 'reward.' Yes, this seemed like the reward.