Last week I needed a few things from Deseret Book, and after making my purchases I wandered over to see if any books I wanted to purchase had made it to the clearance rack yet. Instead, I caught my breath as I spotted a framed piece of art sitting there on sale. Even at fifty-percent off it was really beyond my budget. These days my money needs to go to babysitting, food, grad school tuition, new underwear, a mortgage. I don’t have space in my spreadsheet for framed artwork. But something spoke to my soul and told me I needed that on the wall in my house.
Annie Henrie is our featured artist in our most recent, and last, edition of Segullah in print. Suddenly I feel like I see her art everywhere, and every time I do my soul breathes a sigh of peace. Ethereal angels and women mingle together; daughters of our Heavenly Father standing strong and beautiful. In the piece I bought, a group of women push away from Nauvoo, surrounded by angels and the words “All is Well”. I know how these women feel; they thought they had found a peaceful place, the end of their journey. They built homes and lives and prepared to make roots in a new safe haven. Instead, they now find that their journey has just begun and that they have been cast out, with everything they dreamed left behind. I’m sure many of them didn’t understand how God could let their temple burn and their dreams be destroyed.
Two years ago my husband was on a business trip. It was our daughter’s first birthday and he hadn’t called that night, so I called him. He sounded strange, distant. There was a party in the background. He couldn’t talk, he was busy, he had to go. I hung up the phone, disconcerted, and looked around at my three kids eating cupcakes and laughing in our cozy kitchen. A few days later I picked him up from the airport and he was still distant. He wouldn’t look me in the eyes. He confessed that he had not wanted to come home. Being gone made him realize that he didn’t want his life any more. He didn’t want to be married and he was deeply unhappy. I felt like my home had just been burned and I was cast out in the wilderness with my children and my belongings in my handcart. As I wept alone in my bed and prayed for God to soften my husband’s heart and to fix this problem, I only heard the words “all is well” in my head. The temple would burn, my life would crumble–but there would be angels along the way to guide and protect me.
Two years later I am astonished at the blessings in my life. I have a good job, I have been able to stay in my home, and my children’s father is still heavily involved in their lives. Sometimes I hesitate to talk about my divorce because my experience has been so different from that of many other people. And yet, I am still alone. Every morning I wake up in the dark, shower and get dressed, wake up my three small children, get them dressed and fed, find an assortment of backpacks and lunches and shoes, drop two kids off at school and a third at the babysitter. Then I spend the day at work, come home in time to make dinner, clean the house, check on homework and music practice, put everyone in bed, and go to sleep, only to get up and do it all over again. It’s nowhere near as bad as pulling a handcart or walking across the plains alone, but some days I just want to lie down by the side of my trail and take a good long nap. There are many times lately when my life feels like I’m stuck in the barren plains of eastern Wyoming, toiling away with no end in sight. Now, however, every time I pass through my living room I look up and am reminded that, like these pioneer women, I am not journeying alone. I have friends by my side and angels around me to keep me going. The scenery may not be great, the way is rough, and my pace is agonizingly slow, but I am traveling in the right direction. All is truly well.
What do you think about Annie Henrie’s art (click the image at the top of the post to see a bigger version and peruse her website)? What art do you have in your home? Have you ever had a piece of art touch your heart in a special way?