I am quite taken with the DVD's of the Masterpiece theatre television program Bramwell. Eleanor Bramwell is a doctor in the late 1800's in London. She runs a free hospital for the poor. She herself lives in a large Victorian house with her father, also a doctor. Eleanor falls in love now and again but the love interests always come to naught. Her dedication occasionally wavers but she always returns to "The Thrift," and tending to the poor. People die, medicine was a very different matter then than now, so I can't say the episodes end happily necessarily, however I always feel uplifted after watching one.
All my life I have cycled around these two things: tending to others and tending to my own creativity. At times, I have worked in hands on situations with the elderly and with the mentally ill. Very low paying jobs, but with the sense of tending to others, helping them make their way in the world in very humble ways. At other times, I have spent much of my time either writing or crafting, totally "self-indulgent." In the past I found it hard to combine these two parts of myself. I either did one, or the other.
Currently I am living with my 90 year old mom, my brother and his dying wife live on the same property, and my newly diagnosed with lung cancer Ex lives nearby. Mom is quite independent within the home. I cook meals, drive her around, keep an eye on her. My SIL is quite ill and failing right now, a bit more each day. My main help with her is to fill her bird feeders, and visit and listen. And the EX, I don't do much with him but visit. In fact, I don't do much with anyone but just "be here." I am able to also do some painting and craft work. So I guess I am combining these two parts of myself. But this is the first time in about 25 years that my physical presence is serving others. Previous to this I lived alone in my own little world.
Sometimes I feel I would like to make a larger contribution to the world. How, as an artist, can I contribute to the larger world, contribute a soupcon of peace and comfort to others? This desire goes way back to college days when, upon graduation, I wanted to join the peace corps like organization we had here in the US. I applied and they told me to reapply when I was more mature. (Humph). I still have not resolved that issue of a larger contribution.
How about you. Do you feel your art, poetry or prose writing is gift enough to the world? Do you feel you want to do more. How can that more manifest in our daily life in a concrete manner? What are your thoughts on this?