Day 7 – Miles to Go (1.7.14)

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I named this painting “Miles to Go” because it shows a vast and changing landscape behind the Blessed Mother and Child on a journey.  The baby is looking up at her adoringly and for security (I imagine) and they are surrounded by an aura of silver light.  Silver is symbolic of spiritual guidance, feminine energy, and the ebb and flow of the tides, the moon, among other things.  Red is my favorite color when I paint, for its warmth and grounding.

A few years ago, I enlisted the help of Spiritualist Sybil Pierce at SunRose Farm in Saunderstown, to counsel me through a successful career patch of my new life in RI. I had been struggling to balance job/career/relationships and conflicting soft and competitive sides of my persona.  I am a flighty person when I have too much on my plate, flitting from one thing to the next at times, with dreams all over the place, big ideas and great achievement at times — often in need of GROUNDING.  It sounds crazy, as some color theory does, but she said to wear more RED.  It makes sense now, as it just occurred to me that I instinctively paint red in my Madonna paintings, chose red for my logo, and used it for the background of this painting.

This Madonna in search of grounding and with “Miles to Go”, is offered to highlight a cause today.  Normally, I do not have a theme in mind but I found out that this week is National Migration Week, so this was painted/dedicated to the migrants (of all ages) who suffer through extreme hardship to find safe havens, are victims of human trafficking, and other atrocities every day.

“National Migration Week 2014: January 5-11

National Migration Week 2014 will take place January 5-11 with the theme, “Out of the Darkness.” Migrants and particularly the most vulnerable migrants: children, the undocumented, refugees, and victims of human trafficking, often find themselves existing in a kind of figurative darkness where their options remain limited and their ability to live out their lives in its fullness severely restricted. Often at risk of violence or exploitation these vulnerable populations need to be provided the support needed so that they can thrive.” ~ from USCCB.org. 

Reminded of a group of such refugees I met in NC:

Before painting, I thought a lot about a New Year’s Eve party I attended in Raleigh ten years ago. The revelers were mostly Columbian but some were from other Latin American countries, women and children (mostly)  who truly loved life! During those twelve hours (9pm to 9am) I learned to cook their Native new year’s specialties (Colombian chicken soup, my favorite to this day) and made new friends. Friendly to this newcomer, they pulled this “sleepy American girl” out of her chair to celebrate, eat and to share what I thought were peculiar traditions.  Dried lentils were passed around just before midnight (for prosperity), we had to don yellow garments (can’t remember why; to bring love, I think), then took empty suitcases around the block (to bring travel in the new year), fun! They all took snap shots of me napping at times throughout the night, as I was just not able to dance anymore!

What happened next was most remarkable.  After midnight, I felt honored to witness their outpouring of emotional anguish as they took turns making phone calls to loved ones in other countries (who they could never go back to see).

I asked them to share their stories with me — and one by one they did. They were amazing stories (some of which were translated for me), heart wrenching accounts of WHY they HAD TO come to America to give their children a fighting chance at a safe life. One woman fled the social humiliation of a spouse who abused and neglected her; then, also told of her sister who had been kidnapped several times in Bogotá for being an attorney. Another was a physical therapist in her own country but working as day care worker here (getting minimum wage with many toddlers in her care). One woman’s family had lost a whole farm to cartel bandit. And finally, one fled with her baby, lest be killed, to avoid laundering money for drug lords.

Their attitudes were so positive — truly spiritual and inspirational!  I never saw these woman again but will never forget their tales of courage. I hope that in a small way, I can shed light on this topic — and help people to look at migrants in a compassionate manner.

Love to all,

Jane