Words in Darkness

When darkness is all around, sometimes, that’s when another person can be the greatest light.

Not long after the fountain pen discovery (in the previous post), after the IAMPETH conferences, I was feeling very low. I felt like I was leaving an artist incubator was going back to a no man’s land or a limbo of no direction.

A ‘mom’ artist took me under her wing then and comforted me with such kindness while sharing her story that although she didn’t tell me what to do next, I knew that she had fueled me with confidence to discover the next step.

Her presence, time, and comforting words reflected a life that had known and endured much more suffering than the average person. If she could press forward knowing what she had to do in spite of her hardship, then, with God’s grace and direction, I could too.

As gratitude for her time and care, I made this thank-you card for her.

Thanks to IAMPETH, and some suggestions from other new art friends, I was able to combine many take-aways from what I had learned such as writing, walnut ink, patient precision, maps, and layout!

A compass, shells and rocks from the ocean keep the scroll open, the worn parchment paper curling up around the sides.

The text reads as follows:

If you haven’t cried, you can’t dry another’s eyes. Unless you’ve walked in darkness, you can’t help the wanderers find the way unless you’ve looked into the eyes of menacing death and felt its hot breath, you can’t help another rise from the dead and taste the joy of being alive.

Takahashi Nagai, radiation scientist and Nagasaki survivor.

Nagai himself was something of a scholar-genius turned saint who suffered deeply at the bombing of Nagasaki.

One of the most striking moments in his story was finding his wife after the bombing.

Nagai found her, his beautiful, devoted and pious wife, whom he had embraced only that morning, he found her a charred lump of carbon and bones, but the melted remnants of her rosary in what remained of her hand. He found her in the area that used to be her kitchen shrine, probably praying for him who was so ill with cancer himself.

His remaining life was spent becoming a living message of generosity, peace and love to his city and thus transforming Nagasaki into an unblemished offering to end WWII.

This newfound art friend certainly used her own path in darkness and hardship to dry another pilgrim’s eyes, and rise from the dead “and taste the joy of being alive.”

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed looking at this piece! it made me feel like a little kid again when we used to make our old antique “Treasure Island” maps!

Before you leave, I’d love it if you would check out one of these items below. When you click the pictures/links below, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for helping me!

This book is where I first read about Nagai Nagasaki and Japanese literature! I can’t wait blend more of Nagai’s and his culture’s writing with my art!


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