Angel Under Stress

FlightFor all of this week I have lived and worked at a disadvantage, disregarding symptoms for the sake of getting things done. A cold caught from a family member has taken hold, even as I wrestled the wire into shape – even as I prepared and sent off samples of writing for an authors conference that will take place the same weekend as The Peter Anderson Festival. I’ve accomplished much while my body stressed, suffered, and cried out for mercy.

Yesterday, I registered for the Ocean Springs Art Association exhibit, standing in line, awkwardly gripping a drawing under one arm while holding – as carefully as possible – the most recent angel with her stand. It was humid and hot with an ineffectual breeze wafting through. My body’s response to the stress of the situation was to sweat profusely. The angel trembled nervously in my hands. By the time I had filled out the necessary forms, and someone had placed her on a pedestal close to my father’s muraled walls, her balance was definitely off. She swung out oddly – her back to the crowd, as though she was desperate to fly out of that room. I ignored a nice woman’s remarks that all would be well, and went to the lopsided child of my hands. I soothed her and worked with her malleable substance until some semblance of her original gesture was achieved, then left reluctantly – my heart hurting, my body protesting such a desertion. I was ready for distraction.

When SD – an old friend not seen in a very long while – came rushing toward me, I yielded gratefully to a visit. Her generous spirit seemed to be just what I needed. We spoke of our respective passions for European cities: hers for Florence and mine for Paris, spoke of meandering anonymously on ancient streets, absorbing old world beauty and charm, belonging there. We talked, laughed, and empathized, oblivious of all the busy artists around us. We let go and summoned the vital self. I told her of my “Lily” story: the alternate life explored and realized through writing, and she told me of reconstructing her life after losing everything in Katrina, her attempts at moving to Florence, then surrendering to living here in a lovely old cottage, converting the garage to an art studio, and painting again.

It was good to lose myself in this way, to swim in realities that are frequently set aside for the purpose of getting on with life – good to indulge with a dear old friend, even if afterwards I was weary and slightly deflated. Even so, I remembered her last words to me – called out as I walked away. Don’t forget Goethe’s words: “Life rewards daring.” Through the rest of the day, I remembered them often, as my cold symptoms made themselves known again, and I sank with exhaustion. My body is definitely lagging right now, but I know there is some secret movement of the spirit taking place. Somewhere in there, I know myself as a brave angel. Thank heaven for meetings with other angels who share this knowledge.

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2 Responses to “Angel Under Stress”

  1. Kendall Says:

    This is my first visit back to your blog after my month of being cut off from the internet, and what a gift these words are. “Life rewards daring.” I think that is not always true, but it is certainly true for me at this moment, and I bask in the words with you, with your tormented angel, with the angel in you who has been ill and productive at the same time. I’m so glad SD came to you at that very moment. I feel as though your spirit is in a maze, trying to find her way out, enjoying the beauty of the turnings but always, always trying to find a way out. May you find the right turning, best buddy.

  2. leiflife Says:

    …trying to find her way out. You know, one of the first blogs I wrote had a maze, so you may be right. Dearest K, you are back. What a blessing!

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