About 13 years ago, I took an oil painting class from a friend who is a talented painter and sculptor. Every week, a few of us would go to her house and she’d teach us how to paint. She had a gift for teaching in a way that made all of us feel like artists—even though we were just beginners learning how to oil paint for the first time.
Over the course of several months, I painted five paintings. But the fifth painting, a painting of my oldest son, was never finished. Life then got busy, my next-door neighbor and dear friend passed away, and I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. You see, she was in the painting class with me and it made me miss her whenever I thought about painting again. Eventually, I hid the painting from view so I wouldn’t be reminded of those happier days when my life was less Skiwampus.
When I began thinking of my List of 50 Things, this unfinished painting immediately came to mind and so I added it as #1 Finish my painting of John Morgan. Since it had been nearly 13 years since I had painted, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I contacted my wonderful teacher, Laura Lee Bradshaw, and asked if she would mind guiding me through the process once again.
Driving to what would be my last oil painting class, I was unprepared for the grief I would feel on the long drive to Laura Lee’s home. Tears streamed down my face as I grieved for carefree summer days with our children playing in the cul-de-sac, conversations over weedy flower beds, and the sharing of advice between two young Moms. I grieved for those simple days, my old home, and my dear friend who had now been gone for nearly ten years.
Arriving at Laura Lee’s, I gave her a big hug and explained my emotional state. She understood. Like me, she too had suffered over the years since our painting classes. With a heavy heart, I worked with my master teacher to complete the painting. I wasn’t looking for perfection. I just wanted to get it to a point where I could feel comfortable hanging it in my home.
Laura Lee showed me what needed to be done and patiently watched as I followed her instructions. In less than an hour, the painting was in a good enough place, and I was ready to make the long drive back to Provo.
How many of us have things unfinished in our lives? Quilts, DIY projects, novels, and difficult conversations. The more we put them off, the harder they become to finish. I wish I could say I always finish what I start, but I’ve felt less motivated in recent years. My List of 50 Things is my tool to help me finish a lot of those difficult things. Make your list and join me as we finish some of those difficult things.