'I am a man of constant sorrows. I've seen trouble all my day.
I bid farewell to old Kentucky, the place where I was born and raised........
Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger. My face you'll never see no more.
But there is one promise that is given. I'll meet you on God's golden shore.'
- Dick Burnett
I used to be a professional actress. For about 8 years I acted and travelled and signed contracts and auditioned and constantly, constantly, constantly looked for work. It was a crappy way of life that I knew no different than. And I loved it.
I wasn't great. I was good. I generally always found work. But.....as hard as I tried......I was never great at it. And one day I realized that I never would be great at it. And since I knew I would never excel above where I had gotten, I quit.
I've never been satisfied with mediocre. I've never been happy with small. And I can't bear the thought of not progressing. If I truly believe I've hit the ceiling.....or that the stairs to the ceiling are not mine to climb......I quit.
Now, anyone who knows me well knows I'm no quitter. I'm a workhorse when I believe in something. And even though I'm a dreamer and a fantasizer and a 'high hoper beyond what should be hoped'.........God has given me a priceless gift of foresight. It's mercy, really. I don't think He can stand watching me run in circles, trying to get ahead but.....just running in circles. So he allows me to see things as they are at times. He has mercy on me. He tells me when it's time to quit.
But, He also tells me when it's time to keep going.....but to let go of the lofty dreams and high hopes.
Allow me to explain.
No matter what I'm doing.......teaching art classes, singing at church, painting a new piece of art, creating a new gallery class schedule........in my head I'm going to be the best at it. And people are going to know it. And at some point.....The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science is going to create a special category for me and give me an oscar for whatever I'm doing at that moment. That's how good I'm going to be at things. Oscar worthy. This little owl painting I'm teaching a 5 year old to paint? Oscar material. This new website I'm working on? Oscar. My horrible banjo playing? At some point.....Oscar worthy.
Sound crazy? Well.....it should. Because it is. And that's why God is merciful to me. Because He just can't stand another second of me thinking my hideous banjo picking is going to go down in history. So He gives me this firm, unavoidable feeling that says......'this is not going to happen. Get over yourself. Get on with life. And this is where you need to focus......' and then he points it out.
Not literally. Just a feeling I get.
Sigh. And then reality kicks in. And most of the time.....I cry. Because it's hard to fall from a pedestal your brain has put you on. The crash is swift and hard. And it hurts. And it's merciful. And it's necessary if I'm going to be any good for anything or anyone.
God was merciful to me again. Several times. And I didn't crash as hard as I usually do. This time.....it was freeing. It was beautiful. It was relief.
Why do I have to imagine that I'm the absolute best at everything I do? That's a lot of work. It's a lot to live up to. It's pressure and stress. It puts all my focus on myself. It steals time away from my friends and family. It sucks.
There is something in me that needs to be known. Wants to be something special. Yearns for it. As if it will actually make me feel better about myself.
I have a feeling winning that oscar still won't satisfy my horrible pride and insecurity. Maybe for a week or so. But then? I'd be back to square one.
God's mercy this time was freedom. And this week I felt like I could paint a new piece without pressuring myself to make it a Van Gogh or imagining someone is going to put it in a museum some day. I just enjoyed the process. Hopefully someone will love it and buy it. But, maybe they won't. That's okay.
And the art classes I'm scheduling don't have to put the gallery on the map all over the world. Maybe they'll be some folks right here in town who want to enjoy a night out with friends and take a break from the world for a couple of hours and just let loose, laugh and learn something new. Well....I can help them with that.
And, sadly......brace yourself......I'm not going to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry Hall of fame with my banjo playing. God didn't tell me that. But....I figured it out. It wasn't all that hard to do.
And I'm okay with that.
But my 1980's dance moves (namely the snake and the running man)? Oh, Yes. Oscar worthy. Seriously.
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