Once Upon A Mid Night Mind Clear

Holding this moment of silence, just feeling the brushed and shallow breath grow a little deeper each time, the dark stillness of night is pure. Some say that this super mid night hour is a great time to awaken. The earliest of morning is a moment that the world slumbers and God will converse through the depth of the blackness.

It’s 3:11 am. And I do need to head soon to bed.

The compounding and contorting kaleidoscope of the day has slowed down. A click clock tock competes only with the hum-rush of our heater, struggling keep the winter outside. Both are loud tonight.

Across the room is painting on the wall. I found it a couple weeks ago. It was tucked into a big cardboard box. There were several boxes that Mom had saved. Stuff from my childhood. Memories among the stuff.

The painting is signed by me. I crafted it, and it’s pretty terrible. The landscape scene is of a bridge, over a river. The vegitation is confused. Some tufted tree thingies live along the water. A huge tree limb angles across the sky. I attempted reflections in the stream, but they don’t match up with anything, really. The colors are muddled. A pale yellow and light blue sky somehow lend a vibrance to the water. It’s surface is quite vibrant.

I don’t remember each moment of painting this thing. I do however think I was attempting to channel Bob Ross. But Bob, I aint’.

Anyway, I have hung this painting up in our house. Near our ‘office’ area, I can see it every day. I’ve been wondering about it lately. It seems to grab my attention often. I notice it, I’m aware of it’s faults. I laugh when I realize how poorly it was designed and executed.

I’m sure I painted it for a class. I wonder what the grade would have been?


I do know this though, as bad as the painting looks to me today, I am proud of it. I think it is quite remarkable that maybe twenty years after I put that acrylic onto the canvas, I pulled it out of a box and hung it on the wall in my home. It somehow stuck around.

More than that though, I am proud because I made it. I chose the parts, I used my two hands and my two eyes to set each brushstroke on the media. It is caked on and too thick of application. This is the work of a beginner. I don’t remember painting much at all when I was young. This is almost a first-timer effort.

I did not choose to stick with this type of artwork. I didn’t pursue the mastery of it. I’m not sure I ever painted again, after this image.

But I did make this one. I did try and put effort into it. I see the results of my work, and I am not wanting to compare it to a Michelangelo, but compared to me, it is just great; as is. I tried, and I made something. I was given the materials and I produced a result.

I could learn to love my life, in the same weird way, of loving this ugly painting. I could give myself a break. Realize that I have tried and have given my efforts toward creating something on the canvas of this world. Someday, at the end of it all, I can sign my name to it. I was the artist who brushed on the strokes of my own composition.

I don’t have to constantly compare it to the old world masters. I could look at my own life, as a stand-alone work of art. My art. I could try that sometime. Ugly is a term that carries negativity. It speaks of disproportion and disfigurement. Sometimes I look at my life with that same distaste for my own creation.

I could though, instead, decide to see something I made. I created it with the tools and the experience that I had to work with. I crafted it with love and with care. I wanted to make it pretty. I added in the things I wanted to be there. I left out the things I considered unnecessary.

I could decide that my painting the best thing I ever painted. I could see that I made the best life I could make; as is.


I was thinking all week about problems. I saw them almost everywhere. My brain hurt, considering the options, juggling possible outcomes. I sunk into black negativity, when the sheer size and breadth and depth of them loomed overhead.

In one brief second, after days of mental exhaustion. I saw that maybe, ‘seeing the problems’… was the problem.

I could have seen just stuff. Just neutral-ness and perfection in the chaos. I could have seen this calm moment at the center of it all. With God’s true heart inviting me always to abide in Him.

My painting, is just that. It’s mine. It full of problems, yes, but all of it, is a creation that I know, no one else could have made. It’s uniquely me. Another will never duplicate it.

Until next week. I invite you into the middle of the calm of the night. All things in this tiny flash of a moment slow down. They all become perfectly ugly. The beautiful transfigured life. In a couple more hours the day will awaken. The motion returns. Another cycle can throw us around. Not for right now though. Not in this one deeply calmly breathed epoch of a split second.

Hello Life, I Love You 🙂


Aaron Nichols

(3:52 am)

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