I work at night, thirteen hours in a very fast paced and busy emergency room. I have been a nurse longer than I have been a painter. Sadness overwhelms me often times when caring for sick people. There was a time in my life when I had no respect for life, drove my car 168 miles an hour, tested destiny and lived like there was no tomorrow. It was during that time I attempted to sketch The Revelation Painting several times and finally came to the solid conclusion that I had not earned the right.
After becoming a nurse I went straight into the critical care and emergency areas. It was high paced, high stress, and in dealing with life and death on a daily basis, after five years my respect for life changed. I found myself telling people how stupid it was to drive a car over the speed limit. Images of torn and broken bodies were stamped into my memories and I had become a changed person. It was also during this time I began having episodes where I would go blind for 30 minutes at a time.
Stress was taking a toll on me. The blindness was induced by migraines without the immediate pain, at least until the next day where 1/2 of my brain felt as though it had been crushed! During this time I began to gain weight and my signature even changed. When a person’s signature changes, it is considered a major life event. I had not even thought about The Revelation Painting for several years, favoring writing poetry, learning to paint independently and planning to publish a book.
The truth of the matter was that I knew Nursing was not what I wanted to grow old doing. I began searching for a way out. I thought that travel nursing would give me an opportunity to find a place where I felt at home as a nurse, where I could back off of the high stress, go back to school and move forward instead of breaking my back, not sleeping well, smoking more, not managing my finances, essentially living like a life-saving zombie. I was saving everyone but killing myself.
At work one night I was in a hurry and didn’t know how to use a piece of equipment. I was taking care of a full blown, dying HIV patient and through my own ignorance ran a needle full of blood all the way up my index finger. It did not penetrate my finger but I was closer to dying than ever in my careless life and I recognized it. I came home and when I went to bed, I prayed and thanked God for the first time in my life that day.
When I woke up the memories of Revelation were fresh on my mind for the first time in a long, long time. I saw the creatures with eyes all over their wings clearer than I ever had. I sat down and sketched them and they were perfect! That was the awakening of a sleeping dream and when the painting rekindled the passion for it in my heart. Beginning to look ahead and into the future, I began working on plans for the painting. I had finally earned the right and I knew it.