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  • BLOG: NO MAN’S LAND & BEYOND

    Personal Story, UncategorizedComments (6)

    On November 14, 2017 • By

    THE PAST, THE PRESENT & THE FUTURE

    Perhaps you are older than me. Perhaps you can see where I cannot. I have not yet crossed this line. I know that there will be a clear before and after; a never to be the same again moment. I am approaching the “I do”, that lifelong commitment to remain faithful to one person. Now I am caught in the in between.

    NO MAN’S LAND

    This is where I’m at, standing on some no man’s land. You know, the stretch between border posts after having left the one country before entering the next. I’m somewhere between where I was and where I’ll be. When you are engaged you often find yourself between nowhere and everywhere all at the same time! Well, that’s the way I feel anyway.

    I feel stretched between the here and the there; between being single and being married. Everything that was should be aligned to where I will end up. Now, in my case things get more interesting as I live in Pretoria and my fiancé currently finds himself in Richardsbay. With that I’m also in the process of being uprooted from my hometown before I’m transplanted that side. All of this has me a little confused. Parts of me lag behind while my head is in the future. No man’s land.

    Where is it that I was and where is it that I’m going to?

    BACKTRACK TO “A LINE ON THE HORISON”

    A while back I made an artwork that caught me off guard. Here’s how, and I quote parts of the entry I made with the release of the artwork entitled “A line on the Horison”: “An interesting phenomenon often takes place while I work on a particular artwork. Somehow, without it having been my intention, it starts to symbolise something that is taking place in my life during the time of its creation.”

    I wrote this poem as an expression of what I experienced and thought about during its creation. I wrote it the week before my cornea transplant*. There were times when the artwork drew me in like it was a spiritual place and that God was calling me out onto the waters; to trust Him. I won’t interpret the rest for you as part of it is still uncertain. Time will tell.”

    A Line on the Horison:

    Is it that I see in part?

    Is it that I’m afraid that my feet may fail?

    Yet, I hear You calling me out onto the waters…

    You invite me to discover the line on the horison

    Will my eyes come to focus?

    Will the line become land?

    *For more background on my infection & cornea transplant read Blog: Out of the Blue & Blog: On the Bright Side. The second blog also explains the process that lead up to this artwork from a different personal angle.

    TO THE LEFT OR THE RIGHT

    Sybrandt and I were not sure where we would end up. We had been praying for a way forward. We had to walk on the water or go crazy. We were doing what we could. We stood before a left or a right; no middle road. We were either staying on these shores or moving to another. We lived in uncertain times without clear vision of where to next.

    I had received my cornea transplant, but it was still a while before my eye would be anywhere near being healed, let alone be able to focus. But we were very relieved that the operation itself had been a success.

    It felt like forever before we knew where we could plan to build a future. It felt like forever before we knew we could plan to build a future on local shores. Those of Richardsbay.

    Sybrandt had 2 weeks to pack up his life in Pretoria. A third week for training in another province and one day to ask me to marry him before he had to leave. That day we entered the in between. Since then we have had too few hello’s and too many goodbyes.

    THE POINT OF NO RETURN

    So here we are: between where we were and where the line lies on the horison. No longer locked in uncertainty, but not yet at our destination. We will cross that line early next year with shouts and tears of joy. We will not only be reunited in space and time, but we will become one. We will declare our commitment to stay together in covenant marriage before God & man.

    The other in between is my sight. Surgery is in the past, but I’m not yet without stitches. At this stage it seems like it will be a 13 month period. Up to now, my left eye slowly improved from only being able to see a bright white light (and between 5 & 10% sight before the transplant) to somewhere around 30 & 40% thereafter. March 2018 the stitches will probably be removed. We will again have to wait and see what the outcome will be. A possibility would be a form of vision correction laser eye surgery in order to limit the remaining astigmatism and nearsightedness.

    The line seems to become a little more clear every day.

    I can feel it coming closer.

    Soon enough I’ll be in white;

    we’ll be walking into the future as one.

    No one ever said the Promised land would be Paradise. But no man’s land has never been a destination either. Our adventure has only just begun!

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  • EYE BLOG 1: OUT OF THE BLUE

    Artwork, Personal Story, UncategorizedComments (8)

    On September 29, 2016 • By

    Lana Art, Lana Venter de Villiers, Acrylic on Canvas, Landscape Art, South African Artist, White Flowers

    MY REFLECTION ON FINDING HOPE ON THE UNCERTAIN ROAD OF LOSING AND FIGHTING FOR SIGHT

    The one day I had freedom and sight and the next I was losing both. A very aggressive bacteria broke through the defenses of my eyes and started eating away at its corneas (the transparent layer at the front of the eye). Something of a nightmare that wouldn’t end for weeks and months. It affected every area of my life and made me very dependent on others.

    With the help of an Ophthalmologist the right eye got stabilised and has no permanent damage. The real battle centered around the left eye. The bacteria was prevented from reaching the iris, which would have destroyed my eye completely. It got so badly scarred that only a blurry 10% of disturbed and confusing vision is what is left today.

    The last chapter is yet to be written. I am consulting with a specialised Optometrist on custom made contact lenses. If that doesn’t work, then the next step will probably be a cornea transplant.

    Have you ever thought about the value of your sight? If you could measure its worth in terms of money, what amount could even come close? Eyesight is simply invaluable.

    WHAT IS A VISUAL ARTIST WITHOUT VISION?

    Through the loss of vision, I nearly lost my inner vision too. I was able to work as my right eye is fine, but it became a battle of the heart. Personally I don’t like dark or depressing art, but here I was, facing the most depressing situation.

    It all started back in February this year (2016).  I find it hard to describe what I experienced.  Something like having a stick in your eye, having it  turn slowly, pushing deeper, hitting every nerve.  I couldn’t speak for the pain was overwhelming.  The Doctor prescribed different eye drops at various times, starting with drops every half hour, day and night.  These drops decreased gradually over the course of 5 months.  The cumulative effects of a lack of sleep, incessant pain, a tremendous amount of discomfort and the loss of life as I had known it overwhelmed me.

    As the situation stabilised, the process of coming to terms with my loss began.  While working on art projects I became frustrated fairly often. Being able to create visual art is so dependent on vision and fine observation.  I had to learn to live with myself and my new handicap. The question remains – what will “the end” look like? Will I ever get rid of the double & blurred vision?

    CLIMBING A MOUNTAIN IN JAPAN

    My boyfriend and I recently went to visit some family members in Japan. I find traveling adventures absolutely irresistible and can draw a tremendous amount of energy from looking forward to a trip like this one. It was exactly what I needed.

    During our visit we climbed a dormant volcano – Mt. Kurikoma in Miyagi Province. I enjoy long distance running and haven’t been able to really pursue it the last few months. As we climbed, for the first time since the infection, I felt that exhilarating feeling and sense of accomplishment as we got closer to the top. At first it was tough as I struggled to navigate over the rocks due to my lack of depth perception (another side effect of only having good vision in one eye). Luckily one’s brain can adapt and soon it became easier. The mist came rolling in, folding over the mountain like a soft blanket. It was cold and wet and the top was out of sight and felt somewhat out of reach.

    For me, climbing this volcanic mountain became symbolic of my journey with regard to my eye. The end is still unclear and an unknown distance away.

    While climbing, out of the blue these pretty white flowers grew right there next to the road as though they were planted just for me. There were only a few of them, limited to that particular spot.out-of-the-blue-inspriation

    The image of these flowers there, on an unfamiliar road in a foreign land, at that particular moment in time and space stayed with me. Here I am, not yet at the top, “the end” is unclear, but I can find hope where I am. I can surrender without giving up. I can stop fighting my situation and put my trust in the only place I can find rest and peace; in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    MORE THAN SIGHT

    I still do not understand why this happened to me. I still don’t know where it all will end. I still don’t know when and if I will ever see properly again. But what I do know is that hardship lays bare exactly what you believe, what you build your life on.

    There were dark moments when I cried out to God for help when I simply couldn’t deal with the pain and discomfort and lack of sleep any more. He was quiet and seemingly distant for longer than what I could bare. But deep down I knew and chose to stand on the fact that even when it does not feel like it, when it does not look like it, that God is still faithful and good. I can still trust Him. My future is in His hands because He is my Father, my Savior and my Comforter. He is the Author and Finisher of my faith.

    Those who were involved in this process were incredibly gracious to me, helping me wherever they could.  For that I will remain eternally grateful.  All of you were God sent.  Thank you so much.

    ABOUT THE ARTWORK

    Art can have many layers of meaning and various interpretations. I encourage viewers to find in it their own story; their own way of relating to it. The article Out of the Blue – my reflection on finding hope on the uncertain road of losing and fighting for sight” gives some background on what led to the creation of this Artwork.

    The artwork combines elements of precise lines and blurred edges, abstract and realism, palette knife strokes all the way to water colour effects. Out of the blue some white flowers grow, surrounded by a patch of small rocks and leafy greens. If you step back and ignore the flowers and plants, it can almost seem like an aerial view of sea and land masses. This artwork seems clear and unclear all at the same time.

    READ BLOG 2: ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

    EYE BLOG 2: ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

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