First, I have learned that it's only the first icon ever that you keep, the rest may be kept or given or whatever. So with the next icon I do, I shall have to keep that intention for whom I'm writing it in my mind/prayers throughout the process.
|me and Mary after the icon was blessed, Sunday after Christmas|
The best part about writing an icon with Helena was that our friendship deepened as a result. We never got right down to it (it being icon writing) the moment we walked in the door. There was a meal or a cup of tea and a sharing.
However, unlike the intensive five day long icon workshop, we were able to take our time, ponder over our choices. (We decided not to do a border and it took us a while to figure out our color choice for the lettering.)
It did feel sometimes like we were going too slow for there was also a tension present. We both work full time and so the weekends were our only open time for this.
This meant there were weekends that the hubby hardly ever saw me, and he also got stuck with all the chores, so the time commitment really wasn't fair to him at all.
I was also keenly aware of Helena's hospitality: we cluttered up her main living space with boxes of supplies and because I don't drive, she would often pick me up or drive me home. (We didn't meet at my house because she's allergic to even my dogs!)
We started in mid-August and finished right before Christmas, so that's a lot of weekends (even with taking time off here and there due to work or other ministry commitments).
Since our icons have finished, travel schedules have intervened and Helena and I have only occasionally found time to get together. And I think this is what we both miss most of all (if I dare to speak for her as well): our almost weekly companionship through not just the painting of holy icons but our lives.
And perhaps that's the greatest gift from this time of icon writing: not learning how to fix holes in the golden halos, or recovering from lifting layers of paint, or splotches of same, but a deeper friendship.
For all previous icon posts, click here (most recent posts are first).