As I scrambled to make it to the painting class, I still had a To Do list a mile long, which included sewing 12 patches on baseball uniforms, finishing 79% of a book I was supposed to lead a discussion on the next morning and final preparations for my daughter's 7th birthday party the next day. But I was excited about the painting class! I had really been looking forward to it!
Twelve gals joined us for a "Painting with a Twist" kind of evening, minus the wine. Sabrina, ever the amazing teacher, guided us from the sea-foam green background to the blue eggs, to the nest around them, complete with shading to show depth and finally the tree branch the nest was settled in. Sounds simple, right? No pressure..it's just a nest..it's all just for fun. That would have been true in a non-frazzled state of my mind. But the more pathetic my nest looked, the less patience I had for the whole endeavor. As I looked around at my friends happily making twigs and cute little curlicue branches, my sad little nest just kept looking more and more like a brown blob.
I realized in that moment that I just needed to go home. We had about an hour left of our class. Sabrina saw my face and realized the jig was up. I couldn't figure out a way to quietly sneak out of there unnoticed, and when someone asked why I was leaving, I tearfully explained how overwhelmed I felt. It was embarassing. When I got home, I moped up the stairs to have a good cry. My son saw I was upset and instinctively gave me a big hug. My daughter kept asking, "Why is Mommy crying?" and I didn't have a good answer. But I did have a good cleansing cry. Trent brought me a cup of hot tea to help me feel better. Soon after, the doorbell rang and my sewing friend Denise, who had just left the painting party, showed up to help. She plopped down on my living room floor and she, Ryan and I got the 12 patches sewed on in 45 minutes. She asked, "What else can I do to help you get ready for tomorrow?"
Isn't that the very definition of friendship?
People who just show up to help,
even when we're too stubborn to ask for it,
even when we are beyond overwhelmed.
People who share our journey,
even when we are less than perfect,
even when it isn't pretty.
That is also what church means to me.
Everyone finished their bird nest paintings and they look beautiful, each in their own way.
I'm grateful that Nancy (top row left) was willing to hold up my nest picture in addition to hers. These friends honored my contribution by holding my place for me, even as I sobbed my frustrations into my pillow at home.
My nest picture is still unfinished.
I may get Ryan to help me fix it
or I may start completely over
or I may just paint over the whole canvass with white and start a different painting project.
I haven't decided yet.
But before I can decide, I need a whole lot more white space or down time in my summer and my life. Gently, I need to create the relaxed schedule of summer before it is too late. Gently, I need to accept my own limitations and be willing to ask others for help. If none of that works, and a meltdown is inevitable, where there is friendship, where there is church, there is always grace.