I recently went to my sons end of the season swim banquet, where moms, dads and kids get to celebrate and acknowledge the accomplishments, hard work and dedication of great kids. These are proud moments. These are profound moments.
One of the awards given tonight was a new award. Coach titled it the "Heart and Soul" award. When she made the announcement, I cheered inside. Finally, an award that I could relate to. Finally, an award that acknowledged something in an athlete that was not determined by the number of wins, speed or a scoreboard. She had created an award to recognize much more. Then she told us that the award was in honor of a young girl named Madeleine. Madeleine was a beautiful, accomplished and inspiring young woman and swimmer, who earlier in the school year lost her life to melanoma.
The award went to a young man who coach said had "dug deep to inspire, motivate and encourage his peers. And that even on the days when he didn't feel that great, he gave it his all. He dug deep." He dug deep, just as Madeleine had. He dug deep. These words stuck with me and I started to think about how many of us are put into situations in our lives where we are invited to dig deep; to understand, to grow, to let go, to show love, to accept, to heal. I did not know Maddie, but we have a picture of her in our home. It sits on my sons desk. To us, she is another emblem of perseverance, strength, courage and faith.
When the awards were over, I was chatting with another mom about the prom, swimming, summer plans, knee injuries and broken collar bones; the things that we live with every day. She interrupted me to give an urgent and gentle embrace to a woman who was walking towards us. I noticed she was tearful. I have never met her, but I knew it was Madeleine's mom. I gave her a warm smile and she to me. The warmth of her smile at that moment of connection said a thousand words to me. She, like I feel sometimes, was digging deep.
I give to her my award. It's my heart and soul.
I have been working on this painting for the last eight months. The painting talks about process and transformation, and the gradual movement from precise to ambiguous. It includes deliberate text, words and phrases that are significant at the time they are painted.
I have decided it will be titled Digging Deep.
Digging Deep, In process 2014
Madeleine Bonta's Blog: http://madeleineblogger.blogspot.com/