Sunday, February 6, 2011

An Artist in My Midst

My father-in-law passed away in January.  Our family learned last year in September that he was diagnosed with stage IV bladder cancer.  As you can imagine, the news was devastating to our family.  But despite this daunting news, our family really came together in those last months to show him our support and to give him our love.  He was a wonderful man -- caring and loving -- and though the time we had left with him went by way too fast, we were able to create some wonderful memories that we will carry with us for life.

One thing that I learned about my father-in-law, Larry Dale, in the time that I knew him was that he was an artist.  I learned this one spring when my husband and I went to Florida to spend Easter with his parents.  One corner of the sun room in their home housed an easel with paints.  Surrounding his work station were his finished paintings.

Painting by My Father-in-Law

Painting by My Father-in-Law

"I didn't know you painted," I told him, surprised.  He told me that it was something he really enjoyed and wanted to explore more often.  An artist in my midst; I was intrigued.

Even in his last days, my father-in-law had art on his mind.  He told us that Moses had come to him and told him to paint again -- but this time, he should put the voice of God in his paintings.  Although Larry Dale did not get a chance to create more art before he passed away,  I think my husband's brother explained it best at Larry's funeral.  He said that we, his family, were his works of art.  And through us, he leaves a legacy that is a reflection of his faith.

I agree.  With our own child on the way, I like the idea of art imitating life and life imitating art.  Larry Dale was not only able to apply a paint brush to canvas to create the beauty that he saw within his artist's mind, but he was able to extend that idea of beauty and share it with the world in the family that he created.

Painting by My Father-in-Law

"Your talent is God's gift to you.  What you do with it is your gift back to God."
- Leo Buscaglia

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