Inside Joy

I’m still working on my moonflower series of paintings for my supporters on Patreon. I’ve mailed a few out, but the winter storms have all but halted the mail. I think that this is the first time in my life when the mail actually stopped running.

Epic icicle in the epic storm, but Love Never Fails by Frankd Robinson is a bright spot still

In Memphis, we’ve been iced and snowed in for 8 days. Yesterday we got a boil water alert because our city reservoir is running low, partially frozen and partially over used. We all have to keep our faucets and taps running to keep our pipes from freezing and breaking. The plumbing here is not designed for weather this cold for this long.

I tried to get outdoors in my wheelchair one day to experience the snow, but immediately got stuck. I didn’t even make it down my front porch ramp. My son got me back in the house and I’ve been indoors, inside, ever since. But we haven’t lost power and my son did a big shopping last week, so we’ve done okay.

Even though I’ve been unable to get out of the house (me and most of Memphis), and I’ve not been able to talk to doctors or the pharmacy, I’ve been mostly okay. Working on paintings, reading, and even writing in my journal again — I realized I’m lucky.

Good fortune is a comparative thing. If I compare my situation to beautiful summer days, then I can get really unhappy. But if I compare myself to those who are homeless in this weather, those who lost power, those who more complex medical conditions, then I’m doing well. I am grateful.

When I painted, I brushed off extra paint on a small 5×7″ canvas. Then I squirted the paint with water, let it blend and separate, and did that several days in a row, until I saw something emerge in the painting. And I saw something in myself. My ability to hold on to a feeling of contentment has improved so much over the past few years. I have cultivated better ways of looking at, speaking to, and talking about myself over the decades. I do get depressed, but it’s only one part of who I am. Who I am, at my core, is this person who values contentment and has done the work to keep it alive within me. Even at my darkest, now, I can remind myself that I have great friends and supporters (and doctors and medication.)

That’s what’s been nice about creating the moonflower paintings now, even though I wanted to finish them last month. I am spending time each day creating something for people who appreciate my creations. I’m restricted in who I see, or further restricted, since we’ve all been restricted by COVID 19. But all the connections I’ve made, all the ways I’ve grown, all the ways I’ve spent in the garden watching things grow — all of this is entrenched in the core of my being.

So, when I finished up my leftover paint piece, after I began to see shapes in it, I had been inside the house for 7 days. But it was okay. I was going to call this piece, She was often late for the party, but never for the dance. Instead I called it “Inside Joy.”

Inside Joy by Joy Murray, 5×7″, acrylic on stretched canvas

What do you think?


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5 thoughts on “Inside Joy

  1. Oh, Joy, I am swept away by Inside Joy. I love her running and dancing through the flowers, hair streaming behind her.  I like your words, too, the description of your inner growth.  Your journey teaches me.

    This past summer I worked in a fire lookout.  I took one of the paintings you sent me of pink flowers. It made the lookout homier  and prettier. Warmly, Susan

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