Wings with Heart
Today, I've been thinking about the work I do and why I do it. A story from my high school years came to mind and I just had to write it down.
When I was a freshman in high school, we moved from Colorado to a tiny little town in Texas. I came from Columbine High School in Littleton, CO to a high school that had maybe 21 people in my class. Sports were and always have been a huge part of the culture in that little Texas town that I love.
I thought about trying out for Cheerleader, but those who know me know that I am extremely shy and I was even more so back then. I knew in my heart of hearts that there was absolutely no way I could even attempt to try out for Cheerleader.
Then, there was basketball. I didn't know a thing about basketball, but I was determined that I could absolutely do this. I signed up for the team and went to every practice. I ran laps. I worked very hard. I became part of the team and it was a dream come true...until our first game. It was a home game and I still remember it like it was yesterday. Coach Thomason was going to put me in...I was so excited I could hardly stand it. Right before I was going to run out onto the court, I asked him if it mattered which basket I got the ball in to - mostly because you see, I just knew I was going to make all these shots - I wouldn't miss one! At that moment, he grabbed my arm and pulled me back on to the sidelines and put someone else in. I was crushed, but now I understand.
Fast forward to a few weeks later in the season. Even though that moment was somewhat humiliating, to say the least, I still worked harder than ever. I was still determined. I could still see myself making those shots. My teammates were encouraging and I loved them. We had a basketball tournament in a town just a few miles away. The gym was packed and my shyness was getting the best of me. At this moment, I hoped the coach would NOT put me in. But, as serendipity would have it, he decided to take a chance on me that day. So I went in to the game and did the best I could. Soon after, one of the Refs blew a whistle and I knew that I was somehow involved in that, but didn't know how. Turns out, a player on the opposing team had fowled me. To this day, I don't know what the fowl was. All I knew in that moment is that they were telling me I had to make two, not one, but two, free throws. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I was shaking like a leaf when I stepped up to that free throw line. First shot...I aimed, threw the ball and squinted my eyes closed. All of the sudden I heard screaming and cheering. By some divine miracle, the ball went in. Are you kidding me?? It was like I left my body for a moment and was in a dream. Then, terror arose in me...I had another shot. This time, I was not only shaking, but I was kinda swaying back and forth, just sure I was going to pass out. Same thing, I aimed and I threw the ball, and closed my eyes as tight as I could. More screams and cheers from the packed gym...the ball went in and I SCORED!!
That was one of those moments that I will never forget. After that tournament, Coach Thomason still didn't put me into the games very much - I was not considered a "star player" even after those free throws. But, I still worked hard, I could still visualize me making the shots, I dreamed about it. I ran laps, I practiced with team.
So what does this have to do with my artwork, most especially, my paintings of wings? To me, the wings are a symbol to fly high...that I can work hard, see my dreams, and use those wings to soar, to make things happen. They also remind me that I'm not alone - EVER. My Dad recently commented that he's not a fan of my wing paintings, that he thinks they are too "dark". This is one of the times that I have to disagree. I love the thought of flying of soaring...above that darkness into the light. It's a feeling of freedom and abandon. Taking a risk, not knowing where those wings are going to take me. Maybe it's crazy, but that's how I think about them and that's why I love creating them.
This post is dedicated to two of the most inspirational people I've ever known, Coach Curran and his wife, Betty. I was not lucky enough to have Coach as my basketball coach back in my high school days, but I was lucky enough to have Coach and Betty as teachers in high school. They were my teachers, coaches, mentors, and most importantly, friends. Some of my best loved memories are fishing trips with Coach and Betty. Coach is in a tough battle right now. My message is, stay STRONG Coach. Fight with everything you have. And when things are toughest, remember this:
but those who hope in the will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31