My HeART on a String
The current art show in the CAMP Rehoboth Gallery features the work of 18 artists and is called HeART on a String. This show is different from our usual gallery shows in that all of the works are available to online bidders. HeART on a String is the brainchild of CAMP Rehoboth Board VP and Arts Coordinator Leslie Sinclair whose dedication to this task has energized our arts programing and improved the grants that help to make them possible.
HeART on a String reminded me that I need to find time to create art—if for nothing more than to move me through the deep grief of losing my husband Steve.
Right now I am standing in a place I have never been before. Though the walls around me are the same as always, and the view up and down the street is as unchanged as it was at this time last year. I am not. I see through eyes dulled by tears. I see colors muted by loss.
And my heart? Is it broken? Is it floating out of my body like a balloon heart on a string? Or have I gotten myself so tangled up in the string I can’t possibly extricate myself?
As we head into Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of a new summer season, I suddenly, in a moment of clarity, understand that at every step of recovery along the way, I can choose to live in grief or to celebrate the powerful love that shaped my life and created this place we call home.
My heart is on a string, but I know the other end is with Steve. And always will be.
My heart is also with CAMP Rehoboth, for this was our life’s work—and the essence of CAMP Rehoboth is its foundational philosophy of creating a positive force in the world. With that in mind, my choices are easy. I may grieve, but I will not dwell in grief; I will mourn but not decorate my home in sackcloth and ashes.
Creating positivity doesn’t mean we have to “put on a happy face”—or pretend that everything is alright even when it’s not. The kind of positive force behind CAMP Rehoboth is deeper than that. It respects all people—and welcomes everyone. It celebrates diversity and creative thinking; it is respectful of our differences even when those differences are at odds with our own beliefs and opinions.
When we founded CAMP Rehoboth, the idea of creating positive change by living out loud, neighbor to neighbor in our community, seemed like it would work to us. There was pushback—sometimes from gay people afraid of losing their culture. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Bigotry, sexism, and homophobia all have their roots in fear—fear of losing power, fear of losing identity, fear of globalism, fear of change.
We all struggle with that last one. Change hurts. And it magnifies grief, and loss, and pain.
Out LGBTQ people are agents of change. We can’t help it. Our presence alone makes a statement to the world around us, and challenges each one of us to create positive change in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
Over the coming months and year, we will begin the next round of Strategic Planning for CAMP Rehoboth. I expect that, as in the past planning processes, we will very much be guided by our vision and our mission of working together to create safe and inclusive communities for all—that we will continue to strive to be the heart of the community. I wouldn’t be at all surprised, however, if our concept of community continues to expand throughout the process and far beyond the boundary lines of Rehoboth Beach.
Our work here has always been a matter of the heart. Time and time again, visitors have expressed awe to me at the remarkable openness that exists in Rehoboth Beach. We have a tendency here to lead with our hearts—to wear them on a string for all to see.
The artist in me is always intrigued by the choices other artists make when interpreting a theme, or even by the words chosen for the name of a particular painting or photograph. Some reveal much. Others are wrapped in mystery. Sometimes we connect; sometimes we don’t.
All the photos on this page are from HeART on a String. I was also intrigued by some of the titles in the show for obvious reason: Storms Make Trees Grow Deeper Roots, Ridin’ the Storm Out, Our Hearts are Heavy, Sleep Softly Fallen Angel, and Peace.
Yes, peace to all this Memorial Day weekend, and may we find healing and joy in the sunshine of another summer season in our dear Rehoboth Beach.▼
Murray Archibald is an artist, CAMP Rehoboth Co-Founder, and longtime President of the CAMP Rehoboth Board of Directors. He is currently serving as CAMP Rehoboth Interim Executive Director and Editor in Chief of Letters from CAMP Rehoboth. Email Murray. (Photos: Our Hearts are Heavy by Jeff Moore, Sleep Softly Fallen Angel by Michael Muller, and Storms Make Trees Grow Deeper Roots by Jane Duffy.