Finished this coastal sketch today... the one that was taking me away from a bigger project and helping me avoid.... not a bad way to not deal with things...

It's the Shavuot holiday so the office is closed today and tomorrow. The kids are both gone for the summer, my son studying in Israel and my daughter further east in Canada doing an internship in social work. The nest is feeling extra empty this time because I know they aren't coming back for any great length of time anymore. I was going to say they're growing up, but the truth is they've grown up. 

So the new reality has me thinking about new direction. What to do with all this Mom time no longer needed. Easier said than done. First thing today was a trip to the art supply store, my version of a candy store. It's a wonder I ever get out of there without spending hundreds of dollars.

But today I just got some charcoal pencils. They're for the large portrait/abstract painting that was leaning against the wall behind me as I painted the smaller coastal picture. It's like it was standing in line, waiting its turn, and not letting me forget it's there. The charcoal will be mixed with the paint, a rare mix of mediums for me; the right way to go for this piece, but adding further anxiety to the process. Look at it as a challenge, I tell myself, instead of a difficulty. Perspective is everything.

Last night at the Shavuot service my Rabbi was telling us that our creativity is how we most fulfill G-d's purpose for us in this world. Our personal creativity is our way of contributing to tikkun olam. No doubt he is right. For me painting is davening.

I'll need to redirect that creativity into the new painting and the new life. I have no idea what it will look like just yet, neither the painting nor the life. And not really sure where to direct all of my efforts. I do know that if I give it as much dedication as I did raising the kids, I'll be happy with wherever it is I go. And the sense of belonging will be the telltale sign that all is well.

The next painting is a turning point, and the first page of a journal recording everything that is changing. Painting is prayer, longing, finding one's way, and coming home. I am hopeful that it will both record the journey and lead the way.