Problem Solving & Disappointment

 

PROBLEM SOLVING

AND CRISIS

THE ART OF ART



Problem solving is occasionally required in art work as a drawing, painting or sculpture progresses.  I recall once I was near the end of a portrait of a couple.  It had been a few weeks since I had been able to paint, so I wanted to put a retouch varnish over the painting before continuing with it.  When I was putting the varnish on I noticed a strong odor and should have realized something was wrong.  I kept going but after I finished it was tacky and days and days of drying was to no avail.  It was still tacky and had a strong unpleasant odor!  I looked at my bottle of retouch varnish and realized that it was old!  I should not have used it!  I called the company to see what they would suggest and they told me what I should do to solve the problem.  For awhile I feared I had ruined the painting completely.  I realized how important it was to use fresh products and buy the very best supplies and materials.  Research and reaching out to the experts was necessary in order to solve this problem.

I have had other disappointments in my artwork.  Some are almost too painful to record, like the time I was making a sculpture of my niece and had the clay form near completion.  My young son accidently knocked it over and it was smashed.  I was expecting a baby soon and with complications following the birth, I was never able to complete it.

Another time in the very early years of my attempts to be a professional artist I recall that I did a pastel drawing for a woman of her daughter.  I was working from a photograph of that I took of the daughter.  When the Mother saw the pastel drawing she thought it was not as pretty as her daughter and refused it.  It was so devastating to me.  I felt so attacked and rejected.  I kept the portrait and years later when I saw it I realized that I had shortened the distance between the girls' nose and her mouth and of course, it did not reflect the young girls beauty.

Disappointments can come by accident or as a result of our immature ability or because others just do not like what we have created.  Entering art shows was always a challenge to me, for I knew that I was being judged and the winning was wonderful but the rejection was painful.




PROBLEM SOLVING IN TIMES OF CRISIS

THE ART OF LIVING




After reading M. Scott Pecks wonderful book, "The Road Less Traveled", I made a sign for my kitchen to remind me of the value of crisis in my life!

"How early you meet a crisis is an indication of your degree of good mental health"  He goes on to write, "At first crisis is exhausting.  Later crisis handling just feels right"

The Japanese characters used for the word crisis is HIDDEN OPPORTUNITY!


DECISIONS, DECISIONS, DECISIONS



They are the opportunities for growth and wisdom.  The great thing is - the good news is, that we are not left alone to work out all the crisis in our life!  Our Father and his son- the Creator Son who is in charge of our universe and his spirit companion (Our Universe Father and Mother) believe in individualized parenting!  If we request, a representative from each of them will be with us to help us throughout every decision and every crisis in our life.



Following is an account of a crisis in my life. 




THE YELLOW ROSES

part one


It was a beautiful Wednesday morning, the 17th of June 1992.  I stayed up till 1:30 a.m. the night before, adding color copies of my art work to my two volumes of "Life Semester Papers".  I felt good that I had accomplished some form of life organization, and decided that I could put it aside for a time and work on another project.


I drove my daughter,Lei, to work. (a law office downtown)  She complained all the way about my driving too slow, but since the previous day I'd gone through a red light while trying to please her by trying to make a yellow light, I was more cautious and ignored her complaints.  I dropped her at her work place.


I then drove to the flower shop to get some red gingers to take up to my sweetheart’s grave.  As I was going in the store, a young man pushed a large rubbish can out the door.  I waited for him to come out.  It was then that I saw the Yellow roses on the top of his container!  Multi dimensional thoughts flooded into my mind.  How nice those yellow roses would look around the headstone!  I have learned from cutting off tops of flowers and making hearts and designs on my sweethearts grave that yellow is a color that lasts well, even when a flower is dried.  Yellow also has a meaning of - "I'm waiting for you to come back", as in the song about tying a yellow ribbon around the tree to say I miss you and am waiting for your return.  With all those meanings in my mind, I said, "Would you mind if I had those yellow roses on the top?  I would like to cut off the tops and put them on my husband's grave."  He was so nice and with lots of Aloha said, "Sure!"  I said, "My car is over there, may I go with you and then put them in the truck of my car?"  "Thank you, I say", as we go towards the car.  I continue with, " I always like to recycle my old flowers to make them last in a beautiful way."


As I open the trunk the assistant to the owner of the flower shop, opens the door of the store and calls the fellows name and says, "Don't give those to her!"  I felt so humiliated!  The worker says, "I'll leave them on top and you can get them later!"  He seemed to be shocked with what she said also.

I was in automatic pilot.  I came to get the red gingers and so I went back in the store and got the red gingers and went to the counter.  I looked at the assistant in the eyes and said, "I think that was so mean of you.  I spend twenty to thirty dollars a month here for three and a half years."  Tears began to fill my eyes.  "I just wanted to use those blossoms of yellow roses you were throwing out, to make my husbands grave special by putting them around the headstone!"


She said coldly, "We never allow anyone to take anything from our rubbish!"  I say, "I did not attempt to take anything from your rubbish!  I ask and was told yes.  "Oh he is only a worker and has no say in the matter!"  I said something about, "I had no way of knowing he was not the one to ask!"  She repeats that "We never let anyone have anything from the rubbish!"  She left me there weeping, as she waited on someone else, until I finally said, "Would you please wait on me?"  I wrote my check and handed her the check and left with the red gingers!  As I walked to the car I hear her call, "Lady!"  I turned and said, "I paid already!"  She walks some towards me and handed me an old bunch of pink lilies that were faded and dying fast.  She said, "I was going to throw these out, you can have these!  It was like adding insult to injury!  I felt very offended by it.  They were not the yellow roses!  I didn't want them, but took them because I didn't want to be as rude to her as she was to me!  She said, "I guess I'm sorry!  I've always resented you because the girls say you try to bargain!  I say, "I've never tried to bargain, I only ask for the price of things, which I have a right to do."  Now, I am being accused of another offense!  I took the flowers even though I felt more humiliated by her offer!


I hurriedly went to the car and put them in the trunk.  I drove out of the parking lot, sobbing and wondering why I felt so hurt about that experience.  I began to feel a pain in the center of my heart!  She had managed to demean me and I had felt humiliated by the sales girl and I hurt inside!  I'm still grieving over my sweethearts death and it all seemed so unkind to me to be treated so coldly and with no aloha!  I felt that I deserved better treatment!  Usually in all the stores or banks I go to the clerks or tellers always treat me really nice and I get to share some of my life with them, and there is a good feeling of respect when I go in, but this place they have always been cold and never greeted me by name or ask me how I am that day!  I don't even recall that they say, "Thank You" when I hand them the check!


I continued my tearful drive to Punchbowl cemetery.  I put the new red ginger’s in the vase and got the cutters and cut off the top of the faded dying lilies and put a few of them around the headstone, and threw away the rest.  They didn't look as good as the yellow roses would have looked, and I almost threw them all in the rubbish!


As I write the first draft of this paper in the hospital, I am hearing on the radio the following song,


"When I need you, I just close my eyes and I'm with you.  And all that I want is just a heartbeat away!  When I need you I close my eyes and I'm with you and All that I want to give you is only a heart beat away !"  (I suppose that one heart beat away could be death and being with my loved one again!)


Back at Punchbowl, my heart started pounding really hard and seemed to be out of synchronization! Out of control!  I sat in the car and tried to relax, but the pounding didn't stop!  I think that I better drive home and not do my walking!  I began to feel anxious!  I drive home, about five minutes to get there, all the time feeling my heart racing!  I call my son, Winston.  "Come, Here are the keys!  Drive me to Kaiser Emergency - Something strange is happening to me!"


    (Again, as I wrote in the hospital this song was in my ears, and seemed appropriate to record- 


        "Memories! Misty water kind of memories of the way we were.  Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind.  Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were.  Memories may be beautiful and yet what's too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget.  Now it's the laughter we will remember when we remember the way we were.  What will I do with only dreams of you.  What will I do?  What will I do with only a photograph to tell my troubles to?  What will I do?  What will I do when I'm alone with only dreams of you that won't come true?  What'll I do?  What'll I do with only dreams of you?  What'll I do?  What will I do with only a photograph to tell my dreams to, what'll I do?  When I'm alone with only a dream of you that won't come true, what'll I do?”

"When my life is through and the angels ask me to recall the thrill of it all.  I'll tell them I remember you!"


Those yellow roses, darling, were meant for you! 


    “Love -soft as an easy chair, Love -all fresh as the morning air, one love that is shared by two I have found with you.  Like a ROSE under the April snow I was always certain love would grow.  Love ageless and ever new....seldom seen by two.....You and I will make each night a first. Everyday a beginning, spirits rise and their dance is unrehearsed, they warm and excite us, cause we have the greatest love. Two lives that share as one....more and lovelier than the midnight sun. Time we've learned to say our vow...time will change the meaning of ---one love ageless and ever ever Real.


“I almost came to you darling, without the yellow roses!”








MY BROKEN HEART

part two

June 17, 1992


My son drove me to Kaiser Emergency and they found that my EKG was not normal.  They gave me nitroglycerin tablets to put under my tongue.  My oxygen level was lower than normal, and on the x-ray they saw fluid in my lungs!  The Doctor suggested that I should go to Kaiser Moanaloa by ambulance!  When they took me in they were going to put me in the same bed that E died in!  I started to cry and begged them to put me in another bed!  They did!  They did a blood oxygen test and again moved me to another bed.  A volunteer, Joyce, came to ask me if I wanted her to call anyone at home.  I had her call my youngest daughter and then she could call the others!  She said her husband died a year or two ago and she volunteers to help others in the Emergency room.  She was very nice, and wrote a note for me that she tucked into my purse - on it she shared some books with me that helped her go through the grieving process. 


They put in an IV and soon my blood pressure was dropping and Dr. K the Cardiologist came rushing in and I was connected to an Echo Cardiograph!  They were giving me T.P.A (tissue plasminogen activator) to clear any arteries!  He told them to stop, as he saw a blood clot on the wall of the left ventricle!  They could tell that I had had a heart attack earlier, and I told them that it must have been one of the times I thought it was the post pericardial syndrome!  They said that the bottom ventricle was not pumping out the blood as it should and that there was an aneurysm on the outer wall and it was thin and bulging!  My heart had enlarged some!  They were giving me Dopamine to keep my pressure up, and I felt like I was going to faint or pass out periodically.  (One male nurse that worked with me was named Craig and he remembered E!  That is always important to me for people to acknowledge they remember him!)  Later Dr. K told me that in ER they had to quickly decide what to do for me and the TPA costs $2000.00 but if it lowers the blood pressure it will only last 1 1/2 hours, but if they use a cheaper drug, strepto Kinase, it would last for 6 hours and they wouldn't be able to do anything during that time.  He said to me, "You're a fine lady - we gave you the best!"  It was a good thing Dr. K was there with me because he knew of the Paracarditus that I had in 1981.  He probably saved my life by doing the Echo and telling them to stop the TPA so the clot was not dislodged!   I could have had a stroke! 


About 6 p.m. they got me stabilized to a point that they took me to the Critical Care Unit (CCU)  The nurse said I was in "guarded condition!".  As they wheeled me out, there were some of my children.  As they stood around the bed, I was saddened to see one daughter turn her head!  She could not bare to look at me!  It was another threatened loss!


I was in CCU from Wednesday night to Sunday night!  I was attached to a monitor with cords and someone in the central area was monitoring every rooms patient.  I had IV's in both arms, and a catheter in the bladder!  They put an A line in the right groin area, and a Triple luman in the left groin area!  From the A line they could take off the "cap" and pour out blood into their tubes to check my blood without having to put the needle in my arm!  Into the left triple luman they would put various other medications in to me!  I think they put an antibiotic in for awhile and then heparin and dopamine.  They weaned me off of each of the medications as the days went along.  I also had IV's in my arms, so I am not sure what each was putting into me.  Two of the Elders from church came to visit me and gave me a Melchizedek Priesthood blessing.

Dr. K said I had a Ventricular aneurysm, which means there was an area on the left ventricle of my heart muscle which was ballooning out instead of contracting.  He said the problems with that condition is: blood clots, rhythm problems, spasms and heart failure because the heart is not able to pump enough blood out and through the lungs and so they begin to fill with fluid.  Apparently I had experienced all of those things! 

On Sunday night they moved me out in the hall to take me to room 322 and there was all the family!  They all came walking behind the girls pushing my wheel chair and IV poles!  I had and oxygen tube in my nose and probably didn't look too good, but we all smiled as I said it was A FAMILY PARADE!  We all went in the elevator together so I got to say a greeting to the grandchildren.  Children under 14 were not allowed in the rooms.  The adults all came in the room and sang a song for me and we had prayer together before some of the family had to leave to take children to Explorations at Kamehameha.  The rest stayed longer with me.  I didn't have a room mate until Monday afternoon. 

There was a monitor in my pocket and a screen monitor in my room which recorded daily my hear pattern.  I did not have wires that connected me as in CCU.  I had heparin going through an IV, so I could not go in the bathroom without taking my "robot friend!"  I was in the room with one other patient.

My Cardiologist scheduled me for an angiogram and I had four different appointments canceled because the Computers broke down and then the power gauge broke!  I was getting increasingly anxious about the procedure!  Warren gave me a son's blessing.  Tuesday morning was the first scheduled time.  It was set for 9 a.m.  Monday night I reached for my Bible and prayed that Heavenly Father would help me to locate a scripture that I could memorize to give me strength during the procedure.  I began turning pages in Psalms.  My eyes just stuck on Psalm 37 and I read the wonderful words that I memorized when I went to have the bladder surgery in 1990!  They were perfect then and now!


Delight thyself in the LORD, and

HE shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Commit thy way unto the LORD;

Trust in HIM and HE shall bring it to pass!


I then looked in The Big book and prayed to be guided to find something special to read.  I read about Jesus' advice concerning prayer and worship and receptivity.  Suddenly I see this quote and I realized it was a quote from Psalms 37 with a few words that enlarged the meaning!


"Let your supreme delight be in the character of GOD

and HE shall surely give you the sincere desires of your heart. 

Commit your way to the LORD. 

Trust in HIM, and HE will act!"


Wednesday morning they had me ready to go for the angiogram, but then canceled again and brought me lunch.  I called my daughter in law to tell my son the procedure had been canceled so he wouldn't leave work to come over as he had planned to do.  As I talked to her I was laying on the bed and suddenly I felt a strange sensation like lightening in my upper slightly left of center area.  I looked up at the monitor in time to see a strange design!  Then three people came running in to see if I was alright!  Apparently it was called a ventricular tachycardia!  It lasted for ten beats and the Doctor said it was too long and not good.  Apparently the aneurysm can cause electrical instability.

Later on Wednesday they let me sit up and I did a drawing out my window which I titled, A PIECE OF SKY! 


Finally on Thursday the 25th of June they prepared to take me for the angiogram!  It was about 11:30.  I was to be the third one to have an angiogram that day.  As the young man wheeled me down the hallway on the bed, I said my scripture to him, and when we entered the Cath-lab I said it to the two nurses and technicians in there!  They all said it was beautiful and for me not to worry as they would take good care of me!  My feet were trembling, but then they connected me to the IV and I think they had valium in the IV and soon I was relaxed.  Frankly I was glad they were giving me something, because try as I could I could not be relaxed on my own!  My doctor came in the room dressed like a Chinese version of Darth Vader!  He had on a clear helmet affair and had shields fastened around his waist and up around him!  It really was incredible to see him!  There were monitors up on the wall, so that I was able to watch what was going on unless the camera was blocking it.  There were technicians monitoring everything about my heart, pulse, rhythm, blood pressure etc etc.  They did take good care of me.  All I felt was a prick!  Then I watched the catheter go up the artery and into the heart!  I felt the hot heat when they sprayed the dye into the heart!  My doctor said he would give me Polaroid pictures of my heart if I would like them!  Sure enough after the procedure he brought in the Polaroid's and told me to put them in a mat and bring them in and he would sign them as his art work for me!  They put a weight on the entry sight and then a tight pressure dressing on that and a sandbag on top of that and then wheeled me back in my room.  I had to lay on my back for 6 hours and could not move my legs!  I had to drink several pitchers of water and use the bed pan to flush out the dye from my body!  My son, J, came to see me and fed me some lunch.  While he was with me I started to see zig zag lights flashing in front of my eyes!  They were straight across and up and down around the periphery of my eyes.  Some were in circles!  I thought I was getting a migraine headache!  I told Dr. K and he said it was significant because migraine's are a spasm of the artery and that is what caused my heart attack, so I may have a hereditary propensity toward spasms.  That day, I kept seeing the flashing lights, but the pain of the headache did not develop.


Saturday they let me walk out on the Lani and I began to do a pencil drawing of "Rainbow Mountain".  For some reason without knowing what was about to happen, I decided to use 1/3 of the bottom space for the Mountain and 2/3 of the space for the cloud area.  It was all clouded over above the mountains, and as I worked on that area, suddenly there was a window shape that opened and you could see the blue sky!  It rapidly changed shape, but I decided to record that moment and I titled my drawing, THE WINDOW OF HEAVEN!  When my second daughter came to see me she said it was in Hawaiian called PUKA LANI!  I recorded the words from the scriptures....

"Prove me now herewith,

I will open the window of heaven,

and pour you out a blessing,

that there shall not be room enough to receive it."






I was thinking a lot about the changes I would have to make when I get home!  They were all telling me that I had to learn to reduce stress in my life and I would have lots of limitations of what I would be able to do when I get home.  My sister, in law, Uilani, came to see me several times and was helping me to see that I needed to let go of some of the inappropriate responsibilities of the children that I have been taking upon myself!  She urged me to write down my commitments.  Then one of the nurses named Carol came in to see me and in talking she told me a powerful story of an experience that happened to her in Africa!


She had gone to work in a Christian Clinic in Africa.  Day or night people were coming in to the clinic with their sick and dying!  They were working hard to meet everyone's needs.  She had been in this demanding time schedule for about two and a half months when all in one day six children died!  She said she laid on the floor and sobbed.  She just broke down and couldn't take more.  The other nurse went in her room to pack her things to leave!  As she lay on the floor a Christian missionary came in and said to her, "Who do you think you are? God?  Do you think you can do everything?  Do you think you can save everyone's life?  Why don't you realize your humanity.  Realize your limitations.  Why don't you take care of yourself and then do what you can for the people and leave the rest to God?  As a result of those words she said they decided that they would have clinic hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  If someone came to the clinic at 10 minutes after five, they would tell them that they would have to come back in the morning at 9:00!  She said it was hard at first to do that, but they would usually come back at 9:00 a.m. and she knew they could not run an emergency all night clinic anymore.  She said that she was then able to read, listen to music, get her sleep and eat, and take care of herself, so that she could give of herself to caring for the people during the hours of nine to five.  A new nurse came into the clinic after a few months and she saw her turn someone away at 5:15 p.m. and she accused her of being hard and unfeeling!  She said she turned to her and said, "Don't judge me without seeing me on the floor weeping a few months ago!" 

I thought it was a powerful story that showed the importance of realizing our individual limitations and then going forward to do the best you can and leaving the rest to our Heavenly Father for him to take care of.

My Cardiologist gave me Heparin until the Coumadin took effect in thinning my blood so that it would not clot so quickly.  This was to prevent clots and strokes.  He said that the kidneys would produce urakinase which would help to dissolve the clot gradually.  He put me on Captopril (Capoten) to prevent heart from enlarging more - they said it had started to enlarge - and it would help their to be a forward flow, as the heart would function better so more blood would be ejected with each beat.  It also lowers the blood pressure so my heart doesn't have to work as hard and their would be less backward flow into the aneurysm.  They put me on a Beta blocker called Lo pressor, but then took that off and put me on Cardizem which is a calcium channel blocker the prevents muscle spasm by relaxing the muscles and arteries. 

They took me to the EKG department and prepared me to wear a monitor for one month.  It is called, Cariocare.  If I feel any rhythm change I am to press it to my chest and push a button and record, then call a toll free number in New York and give them my ID number and then place the phone on top of the record and push the button again and they heart it and it is recorded on their machine and it prints out a sheet of my heart beat.  If it were an emergency they would call the ambulance in Honolulu and they would come to take me to the Hospital!  If not they will reassure me and will sent the recordings to my Dr.  It is so "futuristic"!


I was there until Thursday the 2nd of July, 1992, when I was released at 1:00 p.m. I came home very grateful to be home.  Grateful to be home to HEAL MY BROKEN HEART!




    As a postscript:  On November 11, 2008 I awoke with rapid heartbeats and was again taken to the hospital.  I was having tachychadia.  They said it was up to 179 a minute in the ER! 

    The new Cardiologist is a specialist in Electrophysiology. Eventually he told me that what I was experiencing was the same thing I experienced in 1992, but now they know the name of it.  It is called Takotsubo Cardiomyopahy. 

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as transient apical ballooning syndrome, apical ballooning cardiomyopathy, stress-induced cardiomyopathy, broken-heart-syndrome, and simply stress cardiomyopathy, is a type of non-ischemic cardiomyopathy in which there is a sudden temporary weakening of the myocardium (the muscle of the heart). Because this weakening can be triggered by emotional stress, such as the death of a loved one, the condition is also known as broken heart syndrome.

The typical presentation of someone with takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a sudden onset of congestive heart failure or chest pain associated with EKG changes suggestive of an anterior wall myocardial infarction. During the course of evaluation of the patient, a bulging out of the left ventricular apex with a hypercontractile base of the left ventricle is often noted. It is the hallmark bulging out of the apex of the heart with preserved function of the base that earned the syndrome its name "tako tsubo", or octopus trap in Japan, where it was first described. The cause appears to involve high circulating levels of catecholamines (mainly adrenaline/epinephrine). Evaluation of individuals with takotsubo cardiomyopathy typically include a coronary angiogram, which will not reveal any significant blockages that would cause the left ventricular dysfunction. Provided that the individual survives their initial presentation, the left ventricular function improves within 2 months. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is more commonly seen in post-menopausal women. Often there is a history of a recent severe emotional or physical stress.

And yes, it did follow an emotional event!

As a second postscript:  In February of 2009 my Cardiologist inserted a Pacemaker in my left upper chest area and I have felt much better. I am grateful for the Pacemaker.










DISAPPOINTMENTS TURNED

TO TRIUMPHS

THE ART OF ART



I had one great disappointment in my art career which was quite devastating to me at the time.  I was not able to talk about it with my family for some time.  Even now it is hard to record it, but there was triumph. so I have titled it 'Now you are Free'.



NOW YOU ARE FREE


My Son phoned me with urgency from Utah.  "Mom, E...... just gave birth to a baby boy.  Can you come over to help?  We have everything packed, but we need to move out by the 30th and the apartment has to be cleaned so we'll get our deposit back. I've worked hard on building the new house and its ready to move into.  Can you please come to help us?"  I told him I would make the arrangements to come to help him.  He asked me to suggest a name for the new baby.  I suggested, Joshua, since that was Jesus' name in Hebrew and Jesus was the Greek for Jesus.  Jesus was born on August 22nd a day after the day the Big Book says that Jesus was born.  I worked hard the next two days preparing things for my husband and three children at home.  I received an advance on a portrait commission and bought my ticket.  I was soon in an airplane flying from Honolulu to Salt Lake City. 

  I worked along side my son and cleaned the apartment and moved all their things into the new home. 

Another son also lived in Salt Lake City.  He wanted to take me to the Church office building in Salt Lake City where they work on the publications for the Church.   Before leaving Honolulu he had recommended that I bring my slides and photos of my art work, which I had done.  He wanted me to inquire about the possibility of doing some art work for the Church.  The man I talked with seemed to like my work and eventually showed me a list of some of the art work they would like Church artists to do so they would not have to pay the copyright on the classic prints.  When I saw that they wanted a painting of Ruth and Naomi, I exclaimed enthusiastically that I would love to do a painting of Ruth and Naomi since I was named after Ruth. 

Before I left Salt Lake to return to Honolulu, I received a call from the Church Office's saying that they had decided to give me a commission to do a painting of Ruth and Naomi!  I was so ecstatic!  Imagine getting a commission from my Church to paint various scenes from the scriptures!  I was thrilled. 

I came home and began the preparation process.  I first did a lot of daily praying about the painting and ask for spiritual inspiration!  Gradually I began to see in my mind how I would want it to be.  I then went in search of models to use for my painting.  I wanted Ruth and Naomi to look Jewish instead of Roman or Greek, as many classical artists had painted them. I did research at the Temple Emanuel and the Rabbi gave me books to read about Moab, where Naomi and her husband and sons had gone to live during the drought in Bethlehem-Judah.  I went to several  services at the Jewish Temple Emanuel and scanned the audience looking for my Ruth and Naomi. However, no one looked like the Ruth and Naomi that I saw in my mind's eye. 

One Sunday I went to Sacrament meeting at our Ward and a Sister K was one of the speakers.  Her husband had been our Bishop and they were loved by everyone.  She told us that she and her husband were moving to San Diego, California and she expressed her appreciation for all of us in the Ward.  As she went on she said,  "You all know my MOTHER IN LAW as being full of Aloha.  I want you to know that she is that way at home also and I LOVE HER VERY MUCH."  The expression of this DAUGHTER IN LAW'S love struck me like a bolt of lightening!  I stood up and moved to the door opening by the side of the aisles and looked back in the Chapel to see her Mother in law, who is the famous Hawaiian singer!  And as I again looked at the young woman speaking,  I thought, "They look Jewish to me!" 

As soon as the meeting ended I rushed up to them both and told them that I wanted to do a painting of Ruth and Naomi and would they be willing to pose for some camera studies before Marlene left on Friday.  They said they would be honored to do so, and I ask if they would be able to come over to my place on Thursday morning for the photo session. 

I came home and began calling all the botanists that I could find at the botanical gardens around the island and ask if they knew where there was a fig tree growing on the Island of Oahu!  They all said they didn't know of any.   I left my name and phone number and ask them to call if they saw a fig tree.  On Tuesday night I got a call from one of the botanists saying that she had gone grocery shopping at Foodland on Beretania Street and in the back parking lot she saw a fig tree on the side of an apartment parking area across the street.  She said that it had lots of new shoots coming up.  I thanked her very much and early the next morning I went to the apartment building and approached the apartment manager and asked her if she could arrange so there would not be cars parked in front of the fig tree the next morning so I could take a picture there for a painting I was doing.  She was happy to assist me with this rather unusual request.


I arranged for another sister in our Ward to come to assist me in dressing Naomi and Ruth and to pose as Orpha.  Thursday morning  all three came to my home.  Aunty G. wore a long dark muumuu and daughter in law wore a white one.  I had saved a box of cloth, with out really knowing why, that I had labeled, "Jewish looking cloth."  In it I found pieces of cloth to wrap around them for head coverings and for a bag Naomi carried.  We four sisters gathered together in my living room and bowed our heads in prayer as we asked for Heavenly Father's spirit to be with us.  We dressed Ruth, Naomi and Orpha and read the account in the BOOK OF RUTH, so we could feel as they felt that day on the road less traveled from Moab to Bethlehem!

We drove to the apartment complex and I had them stand as I had seen them in my mind.  Our cousin met us there to be the photographer.  The photographs recorded the scene and gave me excellent resource material for my painting. 


    I took the photographs up to Temple Emanuel to the Rabbi and ask him,  "Do these woman look Jewish"?  He said, "Very definitely!"  That assurance pleased me and I was now ready to begin my painting.  I later found out that the daughter in law is Filipino, Puerto-Rican and Caucasian.  Aunty G is Hawaiian, Spanish and Caucasian!

I did preliminary drawings and sent them to Salt Lake.  The drawings came back with a few changes requested.  I redid them and sent them back to Salt Lake.  After several weeks of re-doing the drawings and constant rejections, a committee decided they wanted me to have a different tree!  That was hard on me to give up the Fig tree, but I drew it as they wanted with a tree overhead and Ruth and Naomi standing under the tree.  Then they wanted me to make Naomi thinner and they sent me a drawing of Albrecht Durer and said they wanted my painting to look more like that drawing!  That was too much for me!  I came to the realization that I just could not continue with this commission.   I had made so many changes that the painting did not look at all like the picture I had first visualized.  I called them and told them I could not continue, but wanted to be compensated for my many hours of work!  They did not want to do this at first, but I was able to be strong and I insisted.  I had recorded all my hours and when I figured it up I had already spent 50 hours drawing and redrawing trying to please them.   I got my courage up and told them that is what they should pay me for my time.  They tried to get out of it, but many months latter they paid me. 

I was heart broken that I had lost the commission and the possibility of doing other art work for the Church.   I hadn't told my husband or anyone in the family what I had been going through.  I felt so bad about it and my self confidence about my art work was wavering.  Three weeks went by and I felt awful about the rejection of my work.  Then one morning as I was having my prayer time, a sudden thought came into my mind, "_______, NOW YOU ARE FREE TO PAINT RUTH AND NAOMI AS YOU SEE THEM."  I thought in response, "That is right, now I can paint it the way I wanted to in the beginning- I WAS FREE!"  That day I bought my canvas and stretcher bars and stretched the canvas and that evening I drew it on the canvas with a charcoal pencil so that I could begin painting the next day!  I was filled with new enthusiasm and joy and realized that the painting would be a reality and it would be beautiful. 

As I painted I thought a lot about the meaning of this painting in my life.  I was named after my Aunt and Ruth the Moab woman who was the daughter in law of Naomi in the Bible account. My Mother also had a dear friend, Ruth and my Aunt had named her daughter, Naomi, so we cousins had grown up knowing who we were named after.  I had always loved the story of Ruth.  

Soon after Naomi and her husband, Elimelech moved to Moab, Elimelech died.  The two sons married Moab women; Ruth and Orpha.  About ten years latter both sons were killed!   It must have been devastating to Naomi and the young women.  Naomi decides that she must return to the Judah where she has kinsman and an opportunity for help in making a living.   She prepares to walk the long journey by herself!  Ruth and Orpha love her very much and they walk along with her telling her that they want to go with her.  Naomi encourages them to stay in Moab and to remarry and have a family.  They wept together and finally Orpha kissed her Mother in law and started to reluctantly return.  Ruth held on to Naomi and Ruth pleads twice for Naomi to let her return with her.  Each time Naomi says she must return to her people and her Gods in Moab.  Ruth then gives her third impassioned request:

"Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee:  for whether thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge;  thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God;  Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried:  The LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me."

"Naomi "saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her"...  "So they two went until they came to Bethlehem!"

Nothing of value is ever gained in our lives without some degree of risk and a lot of commitment and Ruth was willing to do both.  Ruth had the power of Love to sustain her and she was completing the cycle by giving it to Naomi and others.  She was ready to enlarge her current map of reality!  She was willing to let Naomi's God and Naomi's people be her people.  That takes courage and effort.  Ruth was persistent and after three requests Naomi knew she was sincere and allowed her to return with her.  In Judaism, even to this very time they will not let a person who wants to convert to Judaism make the transition until they have asked the Rabbi THREE times!  They discourage the person two times by telling them that it is hard to be in that faith and it requires a lot.  Finally on the third request they will know that the person is sincere and accept the person as a new convert to Judaism.

I thought how I had met my Hawaiian Chinese husband while we attended the University, and how I came to Hawaii and left my people and came here where his people would be my people and his land my land.  I felt like my experiences had somewhat overlaid Ruth's experience. 

The Bible dictionary says that Ruth lived about 1140 BC!  Which means that she lived over 3000 years ago!  It is incredible how these woman walking that 'road less traveled' that day manifest such love and devotion that the value of their moments have been recorded and have lasted for 3000 years and will be recorded for Eternity!  It is awesome to realize that what happened as Ruth and Naomi and Orpha as they talked that three woman talking on the Moab road could affect the Jewish Faith even in the twentieth century!  It shows how little things that we do or say can have long range effects. 

I thought of Naomi's strength.  How difficult it was to loose a husband and two sons.  It was rather like the story of Job, as she was loosing her immediate family.  Five years later I would understand better Naomi's loss, when my husband died and then two of my children developed serious brain chemistry illnesses.  I felt that I had lost three of my family also!  Naomi's daughter in laws were from Moab and perhaps one of the reasons she didn't want Ruth to come with her to Bethlehem was because of prejudice.  If it is happening today to cause wars and hatred, then we can imagine it was happening then also.  Maybe that is why the sons were killed, because they had married Moab woman! 

Naomi must have been a very loving woman who exemplified the very best in her religion.  She must have borne the fruits of the spirit and been a living light to her daughter in laws. 

Ruth met Naomi's Kinsman, Boaz, while she is gleaning for wheat after the workers have finished harvesting.  They marry and have a son Obed, who had a son named Jesse, who had a son named David, who became King of Israel!  Five years later my eldest son, Winston, would have a son and name him David.  When Jesus was born on earth he could trace his earthly roots back to King David and to Ruth through an adopted ancestor of Joseph.


I painted a light cerulean blue sky with three cloud formations to represent the Father, Son and the Spirit and their over-control in the lives of those who are spirit led, who desire to do God's will in their lives.  I had two cypress trees in the background where Orpha is sadly walking to return to Moab.  They symbolize the two friends she is leaving, but taking with her in her heart.  Orpha must have had the most ties to Moab and it was truly best for her to return.

The new sprouts of the Fig tree give one a chance to see the leaf formations which are used in the Temple ceremony to represent the renewed commitments of Adam and Eve after their error in judgment lead to their demotion to the status of mortal.  There are many other references to the fig tree in the scriptures, but one is when Jesus said to his disciples,  " You know when the fig tree shows its tender branches and puts forth its leaves that summer is near.  Likewise, when the world has passed through the long winter of material-mindedness and you discern the coming of the spiritual springtime of a new dispensation, should you know that the summertime of a new visitation draws near."  I wanted to have the fig tree in my painting since it reminds us that Jesus will someday come back to our earth.  I painted some sheaths of wheat in the left corner in front of Ruth.  We know in the story that she will soon meet her husband as she gleans the wheat on Boaz's field.  In the right corner I painted three large sturdy rocks to symbolize the strength of those three woman. Two rocks are bonded

together and the third is bowed down, but strong also.

It took me several weeks to finish the painting.  When the daughter in law returned for a visit she and Genoa came to see the painting.  Tears came in Genoa's eyes as she saw it and they both expressed their appreciation for having been asked to be models for the painting.  I gave them each an enlarged photograph of the painting for their homes.

I was asked several times to display my painting at several Church Women's gatherings.  Many woman approached me urging me to send a photograph of it to the Church offices so it could be on the cover of our women's lesson manual or be reproduced to be in our Church libraries.  I thanked them for their suggestion, but did not tell them the experience I had gone through.

In the year 1999 I entered the painting in the American Mother's Art show and won third prize for the painting titled, Sisterhood.

I lovingly dedicated my painting to the memory of Ruth and Naomi and the Sisterhood we all share.








 
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