Wednesday, June 2, 2010
This has been a busy spring/summer season so far as I am sure is true for all of us. Not the kind of “busy” as far as having to get things done, but “busy” as in joining others to celebrate, commemorate or inebriate (on someone else’s tab). The events have included a funeral, a wedding, a graduation, a Court of Honor and now numerous parties for the newly degreed and a couple of impending birthdays. As I sat through another event last night, I got to wondering about how we, as social creatures in an increasingly isolated (yet constantly connected) world, still feel the need to assemble in person and share the joys and sorrows of real life.
These events are not just for the benefit of the people being honored or memorialized, they are just as much for those who come to witness and offer support. One should take away something personal from each gathering, be it a memory long forgotten, a quote for future use, or just an appreciation for knowing that people still care for one another.
I heard a great line in a graduation speech last night that I wanted to share. I did not hear who said it or if he came up with it himself (the traditional graduation airhorns - grrrrr- were going off making it difficult to hear at times) and would thus gladly credit the source if I knew it. “The difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is how one uses them”. Now personally, I am the queen of quotes. I based by whole high school yearbook on them the year I was editor (1978) when we still had to find quotes in books at the library (Al Gore had not invented the internet yet….heck, my calculator cost $100 and only did 4 functions!).
In my convoluted way of thinking, this quote led to the phrases centered on the “throwing of stones” genre. What would happen if one gathered all those moss covered stones and built a bridge to cross over or a dam to keep out? Perhaps one could put on some Rolling Stones and dance their way across yet another roadblock. In case my fellow artists have not noticed, exhibition opportunities are drying up as the economy continues to tighten its belt. These past 18 months have seen stone after stone after stone getting tossed in my direction, most with the word “no” written on them. The speech last night finally put it all in perspective. These have not been stumbling blocks (or stumbling stones), they have been wake up calls and a chance for me to gather as many as possible and build a pile upon which to climb up and take a better look at what is really out there.
These recent rash of gatherings have been the stepping stones of life. As one life ends, a marriage begins. As a youth completes the trail, another begins a new road, all while an audience of old rockers (not IN old rockers just yet) stand behind them and weep or cheer (or both). So fellow creative types, gather up that gravel which may be lying at your feet as well and let us combine it into one strong foundation of solid rock in support of each other. Go to all those grad parties, give up a sunny Saturday to witness a wedding, and drive the many miles it may take to say one last good bye. Forget the mild resentment of having to give up yet another chance to work on a project, and instead, rejoice in the gathering of others who sought to gather with you. Oh yeah…you might want to take your sketchbook along too because the programs provided usually don’t offer enough blank space for a decent doodle. Just a thought from down here in the gravel pit (and that last one left a bruise!)