My first two blog posts – "Expectations" and "Filled with Wonder" – were of a generally joyous, grateful nature, indicative of many of the positive feelings I've had lately about my growing family. But I know, and you know, life isn't always like that.

There are times when life is hard, dark even. Times when we look back and wonder why we are on the path we are. Times we look around us and see that choices we've made have put us in a bad place. It has been in the midst of many of these bleak times that my heavy emotions longed for a creative outlet – and found one in song, poetry, or art.

"Hollow" was my second line drawing, fifteen years ago, in the autumn of 1999. As I look back at that handwritten date in my sketchbook, I can remember a bit of where I was...and why I was feeling "hollow." My emotional pursuits at the time hadn't fulfilled me the way I had hoped. Friendships were few and not especially meaningful. My relationship with God was barely existent, a faint shadow in my peripheral view. I felt empty, my soul vacant and void.

You can see this in the posture of the figure. She sits on the ground, shoulders hunched, lacking the energy or motivation to dance or run or even stand with the rest of the happy world. Her gaze is pulled downward as she reflects on her circumstances, her heart filled only with a melancholy emotion – perhaps sadness, or guilt, or shame, or despair. Alone, she hugs her arms around her knees as though her own embrace might suffice in comforting her.

Traces of these feelings still haunt me from time to time, as my circumstances change to match decisions I've made or a path I've taken. And I think I should expect that. Our emotions are really a gift, an extremely useful indicator of what is happening to us, around us, or within us. While I may (and usually do) regret actions that result in emotions like those depicted in this piece, I don't resent the emotions themselves. The emotions help to show me that something is amiss. Which I usually already know....

Despite the shift in the mood of my blog, I do hope you've enjoyed reading my thoughts surrounding this piece. There are so many layers to human beings. I know you are multi-layered as well, and I wonder if you have, in one of those layers, related personally to what I've shared here. What are your thoughts on the breadth and depth of our emotional capacity? Is it a gift? A burden? A bit of both?

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