• By Erin Chandler

What Today Brings

“The purpose of art is washing the daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso

There is a human phenomenon that might be invisible but it is as real, unquestionable and tangible as a brick wall. Who but whatever force of light and love created us knows where our emotions come from. We reach to describe our feelings of joy, pain, fear and yearning but these sensitive impressions are as individual as the souls that house them. Every sage from the beginning of time counsels us to heed our instincts, for therein lies the truth. Roger Ebert, the famed movie critic, said, “Your intellect may be confused but your emotions will never lie to you.”

What a beautiful mystery that a piece of music should bring one man to tears and have no impact whatsoever on another. A song is a sure pathway to that cryptic secret, bypassing the brain like a cold splash of water on the face, or sudden immersion into a warm, lavender smelling bubble bath. Words do not suffice, words are inconsequential in the presence of genuine emotion. Like Miranda Lambert sings, “When it hurts this good you gotta play it twice.”

Art is another; one woman might see a painting that takes her breath away with a comfort that all is well in the world while the same colorful lines on canvas leave another numb. This line of thought may be argued in a nature versus nurture forum. It is possible that emotional triggers come from memory, but I believe it is deeper than that. These invisible gut reactions most probably have more to do with the very imprint of our souls than just some petty sadness or good day from childhood. I suspect the insatiable innerworkings that delight and torment us day in and day out come from someplace our tiny minds cannot fathom as we take in our surroundings, constantly interpreting sights, sounds and smells.

My mother and father hail from different emotional stock. Each clan is as distinctive as a group as they are unlike the other. The Chandler side is a demonstrative lot, Daddy’s ice blues filled with tears of happiness in an instant, Pappy used to say that God put his bladder up under his eyes and my grandmother, Mammy, had an uncanny ability to tell a story looking you dead in the face and in the middle, begin to cry, tears flowing but voice unwavering, finish crying, then complete the story without moving an inch. The Bryant side, from my mother, is a bit more stoic, less outwardly emotional and quick to cry, but inhabiting oceans of empathy and undying love for each other. I wonder about the emotional gene pool from both sides of my beloved kin. Did we all decide to come here and live out this life together? Was it pre-determined that these two groups would learn most as a family at this time, in this place? Whatever the case, I count my blessings for each of them every day… even if they did come with an extra helping of sensitivity! I will close with a quote from John Mark Green which seems appropriate, “She had a very inconvenient heart. It always insisted on feeling things ever so deeply.”

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