Facing the challenge of seeing the beauty
It's midway between the holidays, and it's been a wonderful season. It has brought much laughter and whimsy and loving kindness, and I am renewed in many ways. There were tears, as well, remembering our loved ones gone on and missing all my mothers.
2012 was a year to try the bravest mothers among us, and it seemed important to remember the lessons learned from all the past Christmases. I wanted to make a family connection that would be relaxed and easy but still beautiful. I found myself choosing gifts, making the menus, concocting fancy treats, as I was taught by my mother, grandmother and mother-in-law. These were the lessons of courtesy and generosity, of willing spirit and plenty of patience.
What would my mothers say, if they were here? They would have appreciated what a good holiday it had been, how the baby has grown, how well their family was doing. They would have laughed at the gag gifts and complimented the fine dinner. They would have nodded their approval.
And the tradition travels forward, another generation, and together, as a family, and as part of the family of man, we carry on.
No more has the shortest day of the year come and gone, and we're all still standing, reflecting on the lessons of the year, when we begin to look forward to 2013.
Part of me thinks, I just got this renewal thing going and now I have to think about what needs to change in the new year. It's good to have a plan, I suppose. Deadlines keep a person busy, but life has a way of testing the best laid plans.
I refuse to commit to any New Year's resolution. I have a mixed record for success and, over the years, have realized some resolutions are just self-defeating. Failure used to make me feel worse; now it's just another note in my journal.
This year, I will try something different. I will dare.
I will give the readers of these lines a resolution that will change their lives forever. If you want a life-changing resolution, you must dare yourself. The best resolution everyone could make would be to make an active effort to learn about art.
Start with the art in your church, school or office, and pay attention to details like the dates and names. We are fortunate to have a thriving, exciting arts council and a fantastic library, not to mention several working studios, and even more numerous craftspeople who have found the art of their craft and create beauty with their experience.
The only tools you need are the willingness to see the art all around you and the desire to know more. Start with what you like in design and color and take the time to understand art critically.
After some practice, you soon see the art of everything, whether it's a fine cabinet or a masterpiece in art history or the latest fashion statement. For talented people, this is a natural perspective, but for anyone else that talent might be nearly unfathomable. No one is good at everything -- there's always more to learn.
That's why art is the most important thing in civilization. I am completely self-serving in that statement, and I stand by it regardless. If everyone can fully appreciate the beauty around them, art will thrive and so will everything else.
The challenge is met when you find the art in yourself. It can take a lifetime but it's a beautiful trip.
Mary Hart-Detrixhe is a lifelong resident of the prairie and Ellis County. Her work can be found at www.janeQaverage.com.