This morning I awoke feeling like half of myself.
I prayed, God, when will I feel whole? Then I continued with my prayers for those I love and know. Part of this prayer is for parenting my teenage sons, who are trying their best to grow up.
I went to my artist's studio and opened the book, The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, where I read the author's story of growing up. At fifteen, Peck took a risk to leave boarding school without new plans of where to go next. His parents said he must be crazy and that he had to undergo therapy for a month. He did and later chose to be a therapist, teaching others how to love.
Peck writes that most adults will never grow up, because of the risk it involves. He ties growing up to love in this way: Taking steps to grow up looks a little crazy to others, maybe even to you. Self-love requires the courage to oppose and abandon old truths before you know the new ones. But with this step, we enact a kind of truthful remembrance of how God sees us and who He calls us to become. This kind of self-acceptance as God accepts us leads to accepting others truly for who they are where they are, not what you or society expects of them. This is love.
Artists: can we do this for ourselves too?
When I look around my studio, I see new signs of my most recent attempts at growing up. Bad art. Cringe-worthy, unoriginal, poorly executed. There is little about this new project we can call good, other than its story. Essentially I am like a second grader, gluing calendar pages to the outside of a wooden Kleenex box.
I have to tell you, I am failing in producing great art. But, this little act of independence is breaking away from old patterns of not doing anything, and breaking away from societal expectations that I must produce great art to be an artist, or for art to be worth my time.
My commitment to continue is my choice to love myself now, even when I feel incomplete and the art I produce misses the mark.
Good art, bad art. Good parenting, bad parenting. Good choices, bad choices. Ah hah. This looks like growing up
a process of moving from incomplete, to complete.
In all of this, God's answer to a prayer I thought unanswerable in life, in parenting, and in vocation makes me smile. The question When will I feel whole? gets an answer. Look around; Don't be afraid.
Light rejoining light. Love increasing love.