My heart swells at encouragement.

“Every blade of grass has its angel
that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow'” ~The Talmud

In this season of thankfulness and giving I have to tell you how overwhelmed I am with happiness at all of your sweet comments about my art.

Lately I have been thinking about encouragement as a form of giving and sacrifice. How a bit of encouragement takes just as much energy as a a bit of teasing, but with much more delightfully uplifting effects.  I have never understood teasing as a form of endearment…I never feel very dear when my weaknesses are highlighted.

But telling someone that you love them, or something they are doing, can be nerve wracking at first.  You are letting a piece of yourself be seen, vulnerable.  I like this…will I be judged?  Teasing or making fun of someone seems to draw attention away from yourself and onto them.  At least it feels like it does at first.  But in the end I think it always shows the teaser’s character to be weak.

(Now this isn’t to say I don’t enjoy a bit of wit and banter with those who enjoy it… but let’s call it what it is!)

One of the most encouraging people I know is a girl named Milo.  She friended me on facebook a couple years ago, a friend of a friend.  Back then I was putting all of my experimental, new paintings up in an art album.  I had just started dabbling in watercolor and was so excited about each new thing I’d made, I had to show it.  Milo would comment on so many of them about how much she loved them.  I remember thinking at the time, “woah…you don’t even know me and you’re being so nice to me!”  I was so nervous about putting a new painting into the void…but then time and time again, there would be Milo, ready to like it.  It was after benefiting from her exuberance and being so attracted to her light that I decided that I wanted to be the same way.  No more “being too cool” to show bold kindness and love.

Recently Milo commented on one of my newer paintings about how it’s been an honor to watch my talent grow over time.  I cried!  I don’t know if she can truly understand how much it meant to have her encouragement then and now.  I knew I wasn’t very good, but I was excited to learn more, and the whispers of kindness from those who could see the seed of potential were what I needed to continue on.

I’m a bit leery now about showing art that I know could be much better, but I don’t want to stop.  The cycle must continue, my blades of grass fighting ever for the light, my craft being honed.

So all this to say… thank you, friends. I love you!!

6 thoughts on “My heart swells at encouragement.

  1. I love this post for so many reasons! First of all, it’s so nice to hear someone else explain why they don’t necessarily appreciate being teased. I am the same way, and could not find the words to express why. (I do participate in teasing from time to time as well, but more often than not, it does not make me feel good.)

    And I have to say I am with your friend Milo as well. It has been so neat to see your abilities grow and grow with each painting. It has been so inspirational to me, not only to see you grow, but to see you display it for all of us to see. I have an art degree, and I am still slightly terrified of showing my work, sometimes to the point of just not doing any work at all. But I feel encouraged that there is someone else out there striving, and working and showing in spite of it all.

    Thanks for being vulnerable with us- it really is a joy to see! :)

  2. “It was after benefiting from her exuberance and being so attracted to her light that I decided that I wanted to be the same way. No more “being too cool” to show bold kindness and love.” This totally describes how I feel about you, Bridget. You are so joyful and unpretentious, it makes me want to be the same. I’m so thankful to have you as one of my encouragers.

  3. ps. i’ve learned that opening up and being vulnerable like you’ve just been in publicizing your thoughts and feelings on this is so CRUCIAL in life. testimonies in big ways and small are so healthy to yourself and others, and totally pleasing to God. i’m realizing it’s a huge part of art too. i’m in the same place as sarahgrace up there, not even doing artwork because i’m so insecure about it. it truly is showing people a piece of your heart and mind, and in that way making yourself vulnerable. sheesh, i’m realizing this as i type it. bridget, you’ve totally inspired me and encouraged me more than you know. the fact that painting is a passion you recognized and took flight with, and that you’re SELF TAUGHT is truly wild to me. you’re soaring.

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