For a little over 41 years God has allowed me to walk this Earth, sometimes roll, but be present, and I am more than thankful to say the least. There were times I felt very alone during that walk, but I always knew one thing, he was with me even when I wasn’t with him. That one thing has kept me alive, made me the person I am today, and led me to this very point in my life, despite many protests I may have put up. When I was a child I believed in the God I learned about at church, one to fear, one to never make mistakes around. The guilt was ridiculous. When I was a young adult, I questioned that belief, but found no answers. Many people were placed in my life to help me understand who the God was that I needed to find, that I could connect with, but I managed to either be unwilling or unable due to my life circumstances to listen to him despite the fact that I heard a lot of him, about him, and from him. I am greatful he kept talking.
In January, when I got pneumonia and it landed me literally on my butt, again, I didn’t handle it well. I had just been through my 20th surgery, my most difficult one, and was finally feeling better. To get knocked down when I was getting back up was an understatement. It still can’t be explained medically, so for that I trust God was there, making sense of it all for me. I’ve been angry the past few months, overwhelmed, exhausted, but regardless of how I have felt, feelings change and once again God placed someone in my life to throw me a lifeline and for once I shut up, listened, and grabbed it. So, for today, for the first time in 41 years, I was able to connect with a loving God whom I know loves me and wants the best for me. One that is sad for my sadness and one who will provide for me during the darkest moments of my life. It’s almost as if there had been a blanket of gray in my life that was lifted and today I see the colors he meant for me to see. It’s quite strange I guess, but the illness that almost killed me has in one sense actually saved my life.
Being clumsy, having accidents, having others cause accidents, have all been part of who I am for the last 20 years. I regret no part of it, but understand it differently today. Some of why I have been sick has been my body’s way of manifesting stress, that’s quite apparent. Other issues have been totally out of my control and I had to make the best of them, which I did and is why many of you know me as a pollyanna, optimistic person. I understand too, that my life experiences have helped many of you gain strength, hope, and resiliency so for that I am humbled by God’s work through me, even when I couldn’t see it. Today, I don’t have the body I would like, but I do have one. I choose not to believe that God would give me specific gifts without the ability to use them, so I must be open-minded about how that might be, which should be interesting. Artwork and the love of color, has been what has kept me sane up until now. I understand today that it was God’s use of those things in my life rather than them separately which helped me along the way and I am most hopeful that he will use them further if I am willing.
I’m hoping for a unique outcome today that will affect someone who might read this and I will leave that in God’s hands. I couldn’t have predicted how many illnesses or surgeries it would have taken me to land me in a spot where I was completely willing and able to listen to God and connect with him, but he gave it to me. It hasn’t been a happy spot, in fact it has been the most difficult and painful one I have been in for a long time, but never the less, he put me in it and showed me how much he has missed me. If it took me 41 years and a broken down body to finally listen, I pray he puts whatever circumstance you need, good or bad, in your way to wake you up as well. I’d rather be awake in a weakened body living an authentic life than live another day on autopilot in a perfect body. What will tomorrow hold? You got me. But what I know is that despite my circumstances, if I choose to listen, not hear, but listen, he will carry me on the days I need carrying, walk beside me on others, and hold me close through the dark ones, that is if I let go. How many of you are trying to control your world? Is it working? Is it really working? I hope it doesn’t take staring death in the face like it did me, but if so, he’s still there and loves us just the same, some of us are just plain stubborn I guess. To my fellow artists, make yourelf work through the pain today and draw something, paint something, create something. Email me and let me know what it is. Peace, Ardith