On Being A Work In Progress


Artists always have what they call “work in progress” pieces lying around the studio.  Often they will have several of these works in various stages of progression.  And sometimes they share these stages, demonstrating to the viewer how a final work morphed and was molded into its final result.  When creating a painting myself, I often take pictures of the first layer of paint on canvas, if for no other reason than to remind myself where a particular piece of artwork began.  Mostly I’m curious to see how much, or in most cases, how little of that first layer shows through in the final painting.  

I once shared a “stage” picture of one of my paintings on Facebook and referred to it as a “work in progress.”  A friend replied to that post, “Aren’t we all?”  Her words have stuck with me over these last several months, coming up again and again when I’m thinking about my life, the past year of upheaval and transformation, where I am today and where I am headed.

My friend was right-on with those words.  We are all works in progress.  Each day, week and year shapes us, changes us, forces us into growth and different versions of ourselves.  Layers upon layers of life build up in our hearts and minds.  We experience joy and happiness and are taught about love, compassion, and kindness.  Other times we experience events that leave us deeply wounded and even scarred.  But these times teach us a great deal about forgiveness, redemption and rebirth.  Every single relationship we have, be it family, friends or lover, leaves its mark on us building up more layers.  

I truly believe that those among us who feel they have reached their perfect state of being, and no longer in need of more layers, are wrong.  And to be in this mindset only makes them uninteresting, narrow minded, and quite frankly, boring.  It is only those in the twilight of their lives who through the natural order of aging both physically and mentally, begin to slow the adding of layers.  Only when we die, do we finally become the finished masterpiece we were born to be.  All the years of our lives, events big and small, relationships good and bad, experiences joyful and sorrowful, are the building of our layers that make us human works in progress. 

The amazing and wonderful events that come my way flow with ease adding vibrant color.  And the not so great things that happen in my life are necessary, adding the balance of dark and shadow.  These layers only intensify my light.  As my life progresses, I become more beautiful, more complete, more at peace.  A spirit loaded heavy with layers.  Each peeking though and combining with the new to create the work of art that is me.   

I rather enjoy being a work in progress. 

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