Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tribute to MLK and Challenge to Myself

This is Martin L. King, Jr. weekend.  It is a good time to reflect on our nation, on the world, as they continue to spin and turn, affecting our lives and the lives of those around us.  I am hoping to watch the film "Selma" tomorrow, although I feel it will be a painful viewing for me for lots of reasons.  When MLK was assassinated, I was a newly-wed, and pregnant with the first of my two daughters.  I remember that I taped a large photo of the slain leader on the front outside door of our Columbus apartment, and draped the window in black.  I was absolutely distraught to think that this horrible thing should happen and then later, in June, Bobby Kennedy was also shot.  My world froze.  I felt that we were doomed.  I realized well that I was to bring a child into a world where hatred and evil existed and could seem to conquer.  I wondered how I would protect and teach our child to love and forgive. 

I now am faced with keeping faith alive in the face of 9-11, uncounted horrific shootings in our country, in schools, malls, churches, and in far away places I have known, like Paris, with the threat of more violence everywhere in Europe and in the world.  What can a person, the average citizen, do?  I have come to the conclusion that my best route is to treat each person with dignity and respect, and that begins at home in my own family, with my own associates, with all I meet everyday.  Is it possible to overcome self enough to reach out with true understanding, patience and empathy toward those who are closest, and then to the millions of "others" in our daily walk?  I must try.  We all must try, and try hard.

The painting just below was one I created with pretty much wet on wet, and very little planning.  I formed the subjects from the paint "flow shapes" as I call them---where the paint moved and settled is where I moved and responded.  It was in my thoughts to show slaves running away.  I want to hope for a day when there are no fugitives needing to run away for their lives.  The painting is bright and warm because the slaves will finally reach a brighter and warmer life.  Who among us still feels the need to flee and hide away?  Are we ready to give respite and shelter, as Christ has commanded us to do?  Can we recognize in people of any color the sameness that links us and celebrate it with great joy?

On The Run
Elizabeth Roth Watercolor
Sandusky Child
Elizabeth Roth
This painting shows one of the wonderful children of my town.

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