“In a Flash” 4×4, oil on canvas More Info

Yesterday morning I was staring out my kitchen window watching cardinals chase each other from the feeder as a woodpecker settled in and had a leisurely breakfast.

This morning I was determined to paint early. It was still dark out, my son still asleep. With the cardinals still on my mind and in the quiet of rhythmic rain and subtle thunder, I created today’s painting, an image I’ve been painting and repainting on canvas but also in my mind repeatedly.

If I started this month (or even this morning) with patience as a mantra, I have truly lost my way.  After the quiet of focused painting, I returned to my million-miles-a-minutes self who hurried my son through breakfast, teeth-brushing, and shoe tying. I was eager to get him to school because today’s to-do list was growing so rapidly, I was worried it would overtake me.

The rain prevented us from our usual walk, and the unfamiliar car line seemed ordinary on our short drive. But then, right before the destination, seat belt already off in preparation for the teacher to open the car door for him, it happened. I thought the crossing guard wanted me to move forward when really he didn’t. And even at two miles an hour, a slammed break can send a small child flying. Especially when you’re so busy thinking of your to-do list that you don’t realize he is standing up. 

He is okay. No bruises, no marks. Only the cracked buttons on my car’s radio show that there was an impact at all.

But I’m not okay.  The “what ifs” are running rampant, terrorizing me. SLOW DOWN. I hear that, too, every moment “what if” takes a pause. It’s not just the brushstrokes that are calling to be less hurried. It’s the eating of eggs, the brushing of little teeth, the careful watching of the crossing guard. 

“Do not worry” says my favorite scripture which offers birds as the example. I am not so much like the birds of the air, but I am watching them, and maybe this time really seeing them– reminders to slow down, to pay attention to the present moment instead of the one that has yet, and may never, come.