My art teacher placed paper and pencil in front of me. Then she arranged a few zinnias and put the vase on the table. Her instruction was to draw the bouquet. No shading. Just outline them.
I froze. I could pick up the pencil and tap it on the paper, but I could not draw lines. I was scared of messing up the beautiful paper. Intimidated by unmarked paper! Intimidated by the request to draw. I feared not doing well. I fear taking something beautiful and making it ugly.
This is not the end of the story, of course, but I now wonder how many jobs, projects, classes, people I have turned away during my lifetime because I felt inadequate, because I feared the learning process, the messing-up process.
Why does this memory return to me as I begin writing a blog? It happened over 20 years ago, and that afternoon is still warm in my memory.
What do we need to do with such memories that just hang on? In this case, I stayed with the plan. I drew. I painted. I talked about my feelings. It was a big deal. But what did I not do? I did not forgive myself for being human, for being scared, for "freezing."
Today, I forgive myself for being afraid of all those things that kept me paralyzed. I couldn’t forgive myself until today. I simply was not aware I needed to. My goal is to move on. Let the past turn cold while I stay in the present. Permission granted from me to you if you need permission to forgive yourself. Let’s lighten the loads we carry.
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for bringing this memory to mind.
Photo by Pat Durmon, on Shipps Drive, Norfork, Arkansas. August 2016.