Monday, December 15, 2008

Sculpting a life
Susan Gallacher-Turner’s turn in the Pacific Northwest.


Thanksgiving – a holiday, a simple phrase – that means to give thanks. This year it’s been hard to do. Not that there aren’t many things to be thankful for – love, health, food, shelter, creativity and support. Family that is really family and friends who are really friends.

So why am I having difficulty? Because my husband’s new job isn’t paying as much, with health benefits and 401K? Because I’m scared. Yes. Because he deserves the recognition of his talents with the appropriate salary and benefits. Yes. Because I can’t make up the difference right now. Yes. Because I don’t want to work at a job I don’t like for that reason. Yes. Because I want to work at my art, writing and teaching. Yes.

Truth be told, there’ve been years of guilt that I wasn’t pulling my weight financially. And yet, I know that being a full-time Mom means more than dollar signs. Last week, my children told me it’s been priceless to them. It’s been priceless to me, too. I know the guilt of not doing that would far out weigh what I feel now.

But now, things are different. Both of my children are ‘grown up’. My husband’s job has changed. And I’m different, too. Or am I? Or is it?

Sitting here at 5 am, tears running down my cheeks, I connect with me here. And with my past and all those nights I got up, wrote and cried and worried. And my feelings were the same then as they are right now. His job, the kids, my guilt at not having a ‘real’ job, one that paid money, one that gave a sense of security, of financial independence for me as well as my family.

Then and now, I am faced with the same choice really – choose fear or choose love. Is it really that simple? Yes.

Then – I chose to do what I knew in my heart was right – love. I chose to work as a full-time mother to my young children in spite of my fear of living on only one income. We made it.

Again – I chose to do what I knew in my heart was right – love. I chose to go back to school, taking classes in art with the goal of showing and selling my work, doing artist residencies in the schools and being there for my children in spite of my fears. We made it, again.

Now – I choose to do what I know in my heart is right – love. I’m choosing to do my art, writing and teaching in spite of my fear and all the changes. Once again, we are making it.

For all of this, I give thanks.

1 comment:

suzanne said...

Susan, keep making the right choice! There is no other choice in life besides following your bliss. Many are experiencing economic difficulty -- but at least when we hold onto our creative selves, we have something to hang onto.

I'm rereading a good book about creativity: Twyla Tharp's "The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it for Life." I recommended it as sustenance for these scary economic times.