“Sore Must Be the Storm” 20×20, oil on canvas Buy Now

Every day at 1:00.

I keep thinking that that’s the title of something I’m going to write in that vast world of possibilities called “someday”.

Every day at 1:00 is when I paint. And today I was thinking about a painting I’d done around 1:00 a few weeks ago. This one.

In my blog about it, I talked about how the bad stuff doesn’t really get erased (not in the painting and not in life). It’s there. It’s part and parcel of the fibers of the good stuff. It stays. In the painting, the bumps and textures of the old painting were still there in the new one, albeit transformed.

And today at 1:00, my thought was this: if our suffering and pain, if what has hurt us doesn’t really go away, if it shapes who we are (for good or for bad) then certainly the good stuff couldn’t possibly go away either.

I was thinking about being a child and my grandmother telling me over and over again that I have a good heart (even though she was clearly misguided, I do strive to come by with effort and perseverance what she claimed I had naturally).

I thought about the belly laughs I’ve had with my best friend.

I thought about drinking wine and chopping onions with the one I love.

These moments stay too. They aren’t erased, even if forgotten. I focus a lot on the tragedy. The way life didn’t turn out the way I thought it would.

But today I thought about the moments of love and kindness that must certainly be coming through too, even if I’ve forgotten the specific instances. Past joys are the underpainting, the texture, the thing also upon which I build. Without these pointers, proof of goodness, how would hope exist at all? It reminds me of what C.S. Lewis wrote (and I’m  totally and completely paraphrasing from a long ago memory): Would we feel hunger if there were no such thing as food?


“Hope” is the thing with feathers —

That perches in the soul —

And sings the tune without the words —

And never stops — at all —


And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard —

And sore must be the storm —

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm —


I’ve heard it in the chillest land —

And on the strangest Sea —

Yet, never, in Extremity,

It asked a crumb — of Me.

— Emily Dickinson