Vigil: continuity and connectedness


Throughout my life I have looked for the continuity of those happy accidents that serve to remind us that each of us really are all deeply connected in a real, tangible, way.

When I was 9 my family moved from Philadelphia to Buenos Aires, leaving all of my friends at that age was hard, as was jumping into a completely foreign place, language and culture, it was something that I struggled to make sense of. However, even there I discovered those marks of continuity. At my international school I met a girl in my class who's father's sister was the college roommate of my parent's best friends. Seems like a remote connection, but those friends of my parents had a daughter who had been my best friend since we were 4, and the girl that I met in my class had played with my best friend on multiple occasions. Finding this out really blew my little mind, and was a source of comfort to me for while, knowing that even so far away there was someone who had played with my old friend made me feel more immediately connected to my new friend. (Many years later I ran into this friend that I made in my class in Argentina, on a street in Washington DC with my baby son, and then even later I served as her doula via email as she waited through the last hard days of her overdue pregnancy, but that is another story)

So, since then I have loved finding these connections, and once I began to look for them I have found them everywhere. Even, within our recent move from NYC to Charleston which felt at first like such a break from everything that we knew, there have been so many of those connections with many of our new friends here.

This has got me thinking about another connection that I have been struggling to make sense of and that connection involves my painting Vigil, whose picture sits at the beginning of this post. The Realtors who worked with us to sell our house in Brooklyn were old friends of ours, I had known them for about 12 years, most of my time in NYC. They understood how much effort and really how much of ourselves we had put into our home through the renovation that we had done and they found wonderful buyers for our home who really appreciated all of the details of that renovation. I can not tell you how much it meant to us to have people taking over our home who really liked everything that we had done in our renovation, which really was a labor of love, you can read my posts about it here. These buyers also fell in love with our art work, which was hanging all over our home when they saw it. They had wanted to buy some of the pieces that we had up, but those pieces that we have hanging in our home are all pieces that we never want to part with. So, our Realtor friends ended up buying my painting Vigil for the buyers as a surprise "moving in" gift, at the big show that we had right before we left.

They told me that that they gave it to the buyers shortly after they moved in, and that they loved it. I was told that they hung it in the kitchen. Knowing that one of my paintings is there in our old home was really hard for me at first, since leaving that space was so difficult. We were so connected to that home, I birthed and raised my babies there. They took their first steps in that kitchen. We renovated that space top to bottom and we know every detail, every fixture, every nail hole. But, as I digested it over these past months I have come to find comfort in the continuity of my painting being there, a piece of me is still in that home. The title of the painting now seems so appropriate and almost prophetic.

Though we have left, it is keeping the Vigil, holding the space for that piece of ourselves that we left behind there.

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~Anatole France