When I moved from my home on the other side of the county to the shore after over 28 years inland it was during a time of immense loss.
The beaches near my home became a refuge and walks on them a time of healing. I walked the shoreline for countless hours that year in every kind of weather, rain or shine, heat or ice, day and night, thinking through and striving to rise above the challenges and losses.
For brief moments, caught up in the exquisite beauty of sunrises and sunsets over the ocean and bay, the cares and grief fled. Juxtaposed against the immenseness of the ocean, the glorious colors traveling over cloud and water spoke of the possibility of joy beyond grief.
“When you get above the clouds, the sun is always shining, the sky is always blue,” are words that came to me one morning. I scribbled them down. They’d eventually become the foundation for another painting.
Little by little it began to dawn on me that you can choose to focus on the clouds or you can choose to focus on the light beyond the clouds.
Through disciplining my thought to focus on the light, I began to once again consistently see beauty everywhere, not just in nature, but in people, too, and Endless Sunset emerged from my canvas at this time.
I’d lost people precious to me, but through choosing to dwell on gratitude for the time I’d had with them instead of what was lost I was lifted out of grief.
One day I realized that the same qualities the people I’d lost had expressed during their lifetimes were now being expressed through others. The Source of goodness and love never dies. God will not leave us comfortless, the Bible promises in Isaiah. I realized that all these people had meant to me, the loving experiences we’d shared, were still real and alive and always will be.
The sea gull in Endless Sunset is the last thing I added to this painting. “Jonathon” appears in many of my works. Here he is soaring through the painting on his journey beyond and above the viewer’s point of reference, flying through gilt-edged clouds and onward toward the light.
We don’t know where his journey will take him. Soon he will be out of sight, but that doesn’t mean he no longer exists. It just means we can’t see him any more. And whatever beauty he brought us as he passed our way is still alive in our hearts.
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