A Lesson From a Broken Gate

Ink and bleach in mixed media paper

I was recently reminded of how much we take for granted when our front gate was broken. We have a couple dogs so we installed a fence around our property many years ago. It keeps us all safe and the dogs run around like wolves in the wild when they play. The gate is electric and we were not sure why it stopped working, and here comes the gratitude part, so we had to get out of the car and open the gate manually. What! On the coldest day of the year I had to get out of my car and finagle the bungie cord free, push open the gate doors, drive in, then do it all in reverse to close the gate. Whew!

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art is gratitude.

-Friedrich Nietzsche

I was grousing about it, then stopped myself. How ungrateful am I when this is what I complain about? I thought about when we didn’t have a gate, when people just drove up our driveway thinking it was a gravel road. When our dogs had to walk on leashes and we had to walk them. As I sat in my car I felt ashamed and wondered when I got so spoiled or high maintenance that opening the gate manually was “such a chore”!

Sometimes we need to go without in order to appreciate what we have. It is the lack that all too often reminds us, humbles us, blesses us into remembering what life was like before we had the thing that is now missing. I remember decades ago when I was excited to have a washer and dryer IN my house, no more laundromats. I recall the thrill and pride I felt when I could pull my car into the garage and NOT have to carry in my groceries through the rain. And how grown up I felt when I had people over for dinner and they all had matching cups, plates, forks and knives.

As I work each day in my studio creating for this blog, I am grateful for the supplies, the peace and the space. I remember when I had to use my kitchen table and clear everything up in order to eat. I am blessed beyond belief and work hard to carry into my art an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude for the words, the inks, the colors and the papers. Gratitude for the time to create, venue to share it, and how it inspires me to do more.

Side Note: My original goal was to create a piece of art everyday for one year. I am well past that number so I have set a new goal, one thousand pieces of art. As of this post I have 590 pieces of work posted and a little over one year’s worth left to go. Whew!

So let us be thankful, grateful for the things we have and remind ourselves NOT to take for granted our blessings. It is where we have come from and where we are going that measures who we are today. It is our attitude and gratitude that help us put into perspective things like a broken gate or carrying groceries in the rain. With a grateful heart I give thanks for our broken gate…and for the man who is coming today to fix it!

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