It was a sad time; My Dad and his generation were rapidly passing out of my life moving on to the other side of history. I was feeling too low to do creative work, yet that has always been a source of solace and joy for me, so it too was sadly missed. One afternoon, I realized that a respite from sadness and loss was urgently needed; dark thoughts had ruled me too long.
Outside there were looming black clouds that, like my mood, had been hanging around for days. Not willing to wait for a better day, I gathered my paints, a small easel and canvas and headed out to the local playground park. I hoped that being around children playing would cheer me up even with the sky presenting such a dreary outlook.
Setting up quickly, I determined to paint before the sky opened up and poured it’s tears on me. Pushing back this gloomy thought I began to sketch in the tree line, resigned to painting with dull and dark colors. Then suddenly, Lo! …the sun broke through the heavy darkness above. As I painted as quickly as possible, I could feel the glorious golden rays kiss away the shadows of my sadness.
It never did rain that afternoon. I was able to finish the painting, with my blues transformed by the revelation of the reality of the emerging blue sky. It is a welcome reminder that the blue sky, like God’s mercy and love, is always there, even when shrouded by troubled times.
My Dad would be the first one to say “let the sorrow go”. A child in the Depression, he soldiered through WWII, worked his way through college, married and raised 11 children. He met with hardship, loss, financial challenges, illness and more with a determination to persevere, be positive and never complain. He was a man of faith, trusting that the light of God was always there, even if obscured by clouds.
Mike was a great appreciator of the simple joys of life- a good joke, a kind word, butter on a fresh cinnamon bun. I smile just to think of his enjoyment; a wonderful inheritance.
My memories of him are a light for me, forever. Thanks, Dad.
Michael Francis Newell Jr.
September 5, 1920 – May 19, 2014