Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blindly collecting, unknowingly following

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Today, as I was wiping the dust and cobwebs off five 1938 theater seats, I realized that how everything I have been collecting – items as well as lessons and experiences, even  people – is playing a part in my current endeavor of opening a nurture studio and offering under-served kids an eclectic art exploration.

I bought this first row of seats from the Miami-Western Theater in Oxford, OH, in a thrift store shortly after the theater closed, probably 20 years ago. They took up residence in our cavernous Loveland apartment with French doors and hardwood floors and no occupants for 30 years. They’ve since been stored in our garage attic, taken out once or twice for parties.

They will be perfect in this new studio. I can imagine adults settling in to journal or be still; children snapping the seats up and down, awaiting the premiere of one of their films. The possibilities are limitless. Of course, I had no idea 20 years ago how they would, eventually, find a home. I instinctively knew I needed them. I could say the same for so many other things in my new space: the $10 harvest table, discounted art supplies here and there, golden-tree lamp lined with furry animal-print ornaments, the wonderful computer table my brother-in-law made for my first office in Loveland, the yards and bolts of colorful fabric I picked up for $1 a yard …

More importantly are the people: my best friend, a neighborhood friend with a background and ministry in non-profits, my favorite art teacher, my beloved sister-in-law who just happened to recently retire (I have wanted to partner with her in something for so long), my longtime spiritual and Quaker buddy and two gifted teachers who heard what I was doing and quickly and thoroughly threw in. I am overwhelmed at the support. It means I don’t have to go this alone; there are actually people who desire to help in this. My Quaker meeting is just waiting to know what I need supply- and people-wise.

Never had I dared to dream this dream. It’s not one college or society prepares you for or even, really, explains is an option. Serving God in whatever way she calls is, I believe, my most important work.

It had felt as if I’d been fighting it until a breakthrough the last few weeks helped me see and accept –– this is BIG for me – that I am exactly where I am meant to be. Certainly I have heard that repeatedly over the years and thought I understood.

Just wasn’t ready yet. I am not fully there, but it is washing over me and sinking in as if to permanently stick. I had been moving in this direction when, at a recent Quaker retreat, a Friend lingered to deliver a message that moved something out of my path and projected me into another frame. I wrote about it last post [http://salonforthesoul.blogspot.com/2012/07/remembering-i-am-loved.html]. He talked about the yes-and-no-language of God, of doors opening and closing and how often, for him, the closing was much more pivotal, though devastating to his ego and perception of what his work would be.

I was riveted when another Friend spoke in worship about seeing dark spirits leave people, then witnessing the healing and transformation. I was so intrigued that we had an extended conversation because I had never been able to speak to another Quaker so candidly about the darkness. Most prefer to dwell on and in the light. He gave me some practical advice and some scripture to read – only because I was hungry and asked.

Fortunately, I had my monthly pastoral/shamanic-counseling session scheduled several days after I returned and, again, could talk to someone I completely trust. Gary couched this idea of dark spirits differently, as twisted love. He helped me expel some of that: a process we have worked on for years, but not entirely in this new frame. He told me the negativity that has attached to me can be sent to another realm, where it will get what it needs to become love again and cannot return to feed on me. So, we propelled it. We touched foreheads, he patted my hair and gently sang to me. I was transported somewhere other-worldly and remembered who I am without those old, dark attachments.

Remembered not to compare myself to others, not to hold myself to what society esteems as successful or even where my ego had me trapped.

I continue to remember and am beginning to understand why I have been collecting what I have been collecting. I am collecting what God calls me to collect and doing with it what she directs.

• How have I experienced doing something for no apparent reason, but doing it nonetheless?
• What’s it been like when I have realized there is a purpose?
• How can I see God’s hand in my life and work?
• How easily can I let go of other notions that fill me about who I am and what I should be doing?
• How do I let go?

Just a row of
five discarded
theater seats

nothing special
except to me

historical marker
of the many other
fannies that had
perched here

stray wads
of chewed gum
glued underneath

patina of
what came

stowed out
of sight

the moment
ripe for a
new use

now only
to me

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