This weekend we walked along the rocky coast, a bright sun beginning its journey to set and emerge on the other side of the world. It was so incredibly beautiful. “We are too fortunate!” I thought to myself.
The words are not original to me, but they came into my vocabulary a number of years ago through an artist’s pottery shop in the town of Rockport. On this Monday, where my Sabbath rest collides with my daily reality, I want to remind myself of those words “We are too fortunate.”
Travel to the end of Route 128 in the North Shore of Boston and you will end up in Rockport, Massachusetts – a charming town on the rocky Atlantic coast, where art galleries mix with unique shops and beautiful gardens.
Rockport is at the end of the railway line and there is not a better ending to that particular train journey.
Some of the well-known landmarks in the area include Bearskin neck jutting into the sea and the main tourist area of the town and Motif #1, an old fishing shack that is said to be the most painted site in all of the United States;
A number of years ago there was a small pottery shop in town called Too Fortunate Pottery. I first discovered this shop years ago when, wanting to escape the madness of an American mall at Christmastime, my husband and I chose to do all of our Christmas shopping in Rockport. Wandering in to the pottery shop I wanted to stay forever. The shop was filled with light and creativity. It wasn’t just the pottery itself, beautiful though it was, it was the peace and the space transporting me to a world beyond my current reality. Perhaps it was the timing since we found this shop in the middle of a critical process of culture-shock, experiencing our first Christmas in ten years in the United States after moving from Cairo.
On one of my future visits to the shop I began speaking with one of the owners. I asked her about the name of the store. She looked at me, paused, and then replied “One day, as we were working and creating, we looked at each other and realized that we were too fortunate to have this shop and do what we loved all day long. The name came to us that day – Too Fortunate Pottery.”
I have never forgotten this conversation and this window into the creativity and gratefulness of the artists.
Perhaps it’s my limited view, but I see fewer people passionate about their work. I can’t think of many who could put up the sign “Too Fortunate” to describe their life’s work and calling. There are also many who may not be willing to give up their retirement plans, yearly raises, and that critical 2-week vacation that the west understands as the American Dream to do what they are passionate about. For others, it is finances and life circumstances that dictate their work, demanding attention to jobs that are not their life choice.
This is what makes the work of the artist so critical and desperately needed. Because artists create spaces where the rest of us can relax and enter into places where time doesn’t matter and peace radiates all around.
In the words of another, art becomes essential not decorative* so that we too might consider ourselves too fortunate.
*Bono on The Psalms
This post was revised from one written in 2011.