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Through the Church Window

Funny how things stick in the mind.

Our old church in St. Shotts, Newfoundland sadly burnt to the ground a few years ago. Not to despair though, because the fine people of our community and Holy Redeemer Parish quickly set to work to raise funds and built a new church. It's lovely, but when I picture the church, my mind goes back to that old structure not the new one that stands in its place today.

It was there that I was baptized, made my first communion/confession, sang and played in the choir, celebrated weddings, and attended funerals.

Memories. Aren't they are a strange thing?

When this painting was finished, I felt pretty delighted overall. I believe I managed to capture a lightness and almost ethereal feeling in the the sky and background. I also liked the foreground even though it seemed to contrast the top of the piece in mood and structure.

It wasn't until I was photographing it for the website that it hit me, and hit me hard, that what I had actually painted came from a very dramatic moment about 30 years ago.

It was a cold winter's day in 1988. I always sat on the right side of the church. From that side one could look out those old windows down to the beach below. That particular day the sea was as rough as one could ever imagine it to be. It was actually churning up brown much like it is in my painting.

It looked angry.

It looked as angry as I felt.

I was angry.

I was so fucking angry at that sea.

It had taken so much from me and others.

It was peaceful in the church that day compared to what was happening outdoors, and compared to the trauma that had been eating me alive for a year.

At that particular moment, in that particular church, I was raging just as hard as that sea was pounding. Maybe more.

I remember cursing it and HIM in my mind.

The tears were welling up again and I wanted to run out of that church so bad, but I knew it would bring attention that I didn't want or need.

So I swallowed real hard over and over until the lump was pushed down as far as I could get it.

In a lot of ways I've been swallowing that lump for 30 years

..... until now.

Memories. How very strange they are.


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