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A time for all seasons

When is it time to let go?

As Al and I have been downsizing, we have been working and cleaning, letting go of things. But, as we have been working on things, we are the ones who needed to be worked on. We have become too sentimental and emotionally attached to memories and things.

I remember when I was eight or nine, in my little southern Colorado town where I was born and raised; there was a big white house. In a child’s eyes, it was a picture of a mansion from “Gone with the Wind.” I was intrigued with its lily covered pond and two big white sun porches with lots of windows. There was a mystery behind those windows. With permission, we ice skated on the pond in the winter and my eyes saw it as the biggest and best house in town. I wanted to live in it some day.

Just a few years ago, we went to my little country town and the family in the big white house was having a garage sale. New windows were being added and other construction on the house was going on. This family with five or six children was not the family who once owned it.

I asked about the previous owners. The children pointed to a modular house two doors down the street and said the older couple traded houses with them. I just remembered how I felt. I was sad for the older couple. I felt they gave away their inheritance; they had stepped down to a meager existence. From a mansion to a modular, how could they do that? They must be out of their minds. If I owned it, I would never turn loose of that house. They lived in it all their lives and raised their children there. The house was a status symbol for their family. What about their one daughter and her family. What did she think about it?

I didn’t realize it then, and it still pains me today, but the older couple was thinking very straight. They understood where they were in life. They were not feeling like they were stepping down, but making life more comfortable and enjoyable for themselves. No longer were they living in the demands of keeping and maintaining a big house and yard.

I am sure that the big house with the drafty rooms, with the big old leaky windows, was too big for two people and too much to take care of. The old electrical wiring and plumbing probably needed to be updated along with the kitchen and bathroom. The yard work needed the strength of youth; all of it became a burden for them physically and financially.

They were no longer the same as they were in their younger days and a younger family had the enjoyment of it now. Also, they probably had fulfilled their dreams in their prime. They lived that life and it was no longer so important to them.

I questioned myself and thought, “Am I thinking old or thinking wise? We too are making a change and letting go of my big 4,000 square-foot studio and gallery and retreat center. It’s too much to take care of.”

I taught on a passage recently and questioned why we do not know when it is time to change. “Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; and the turtledove, the swift and the swallow observe the time of their coming. But my people do not know ...” Jeremiah 8:7.

Turtledoves are seasonal birds and they understand their appointed time. Why is it we do not move easily from season to season? Is it because we become too emotionally entrenched in a certain mindset of how it should be and we can not change?

When I talked to the older people living in the modular just a few years ago, I was still experiencing my childhood expectations and was not ready to see it any differently. Today I understand. It’s OK to let go; in fact, it is necessary if we want an easier and more comfortable life so that we can do the things we find more enjoyable, such as painting and writing. There is an appointed time for each season.

I know a few people who are living in the wrong season. Their season came and left and they continue to hang on. Why and what are they hanging on to? Maybe, it is a preconceived idea of the past, a childhood notion, or what they think they need. If they let go, they might think they have lessened their dreams, lost their security and something important they had in their younger days.

I have found that when I finally take courage and get out of the box; I can’t and won’t go back. The box becomes too small and less important to me. Am I giving away my children’s childhood memories? I haven’t figured that out yet about children and grandchildren and what they need to hang on to for their sense of inheritance. Maybe they have to figure that out for themselves.

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1. There is a purpose in every season. We should be excited to understand and see the purpose in this new season we live in. We will miss the purpose of today, if we hang on to yesterday’s notions.

Final brushstroke: A new season brings new understanding. There are new benefits in a new day.

Reader’s comments

Dear Betty:

“Selling Fake Art — I’m Innocent.” Betty, I was moved by your true story.  How many others have been wrongly accused for the benefit of others?  It is the bold voice of truth, and your wobbly standing where others who have experienced false judgment can rise too; dust off the lies and accusations and face this world.  How vibrant are the colors of your life, leaving behind a priceless montage for all to enjoy.  It is as though the metaphors of good versus evil in Dali’s compositions flowed off the canvas and came alive for the benefit of all.  

DD

Pagosa Springs

Dear DD:

How kind your words, but there is no hero here. It was just another lesson in life and I escaped it with the seat of my pants on fire.

Dear Betty:

Wow Betty, what an adventure in the world of art you’ve had. I had no idea.  

I, too, was an art consultant, working for a very well known, high end gallery in Hawaii.

The first thing they told me in 1999 was that “Art is not an investment and you may not say that it is.” That may have been because of the experience you had had with your company.  Most of my art sales were for originals, $3,000 to $250,000 .  Yes, I made huge money at 13 percent commission, partly because I am an artist like you and also, like you, an honest individual; clients can sense that.  You and I are honest and believe that others are as well.  Sad to say ... wrong!  It’s awful what someone will do for the almighty dollar.  I too, learned over my seven years that we, honest individuals, were few and far between in the business of art.  Most owners and consultants lie, cheat and steal their way to the top, stepping on anyone who gets in their way.  I got to the point where I couldn’t be in that environment.  To stay would have done me grievous harm.  

I am so sorry for what you had to go through.  But good for you for not losing your integrity. It’s sad that we both had to learn that not everyone is honest.  Good lessons.

Betty, you paved the way for a lot of art consultants in America.   By enduring this trial, you learned lessons that you will use to be a stronger and more informed individual, aware, that not all come from that place of love and honor.

Always with Aloha,

Willow

Send your comments to bettyslade@centurytel.net.

Artist’s Quote

“When you focus on what’s wrong, you get more of what’s wrong. Conversely, when you focus on what’s right, you get more of what’s right.” — Gina Mollicone-Long, author.