People move me.
I’m reading “Tiny Beautiful Things” by Cheryl Strayed.
It’s a book of letters. The questions, the pain, the wonderings of readers and Cheryl’s answers, her attempts to ease the reader’s suffering and give them glimpses of brightness.
I just read a letter from a 58-year-old father who lost his son four years ago in a drunk driving accident. The father has a good job, friends, a brother and sister-in-law, nieces, nephews, and a girlfriend.
But he lives inside of hell.
Cheryl attempted to bring him out. Just a little.
About a month ago I interviewed Melody Ross. Melody is an artist, writer, teacher, and entrepreneur with a massive online following and a thriving business.
About 15 years ago Melody’s husband suffered a brain injury that left him mentally ill for five years. During that time Melody lost her business, her home, and very nearly her marriage.
At times she made art out of scraps of paper from bankruptcy notes and junk mail. It was the art that kept her sane. And it was the art that brought her back.
In my interview with Melody, “Grief, Loss, and the Healing Power of Art,” we talk about what it takes to survive one’s own private hell and how art can help you do that.
What I learned from Melody is that pain and suffering are beautiful. Not on their own. On their own they suck. But what grows out of them can be beautiful.
Melody walks through the world with her heart wide open. Melody makes art every day with the hope that it reaches someone who needs healing. Melody is here, on this planet, to heal the pain and suffering that she knows so intimately.
And because of the pain and suffering Melody endured, her wisdom is deep and solid. Her heart has broken but it seems as if the glue used to bind the pieces together again has made it stronger.
I have spent much of my life trying not to experience pain and suffering. What I forget is that there is much to be harvested from the darkest of places. There is much to be learned.
And there is always art.
Art to be made inside of the darkness. Art to be made in order to feel the light. And art to be made because that is what brings us home.
We all experience our own private hell at one point or another. For some it is many points. But there is always a way out and a way home.
Listen to this interview and learn how art can be the path that heals.
Originally published at medium.com