For years, Dove Award-winning artist Margaret Becker allowed life to push her along, while she bypassed dreams, aspirations, and meaningful moments along the way. Her new book, Coming Up for Air, chronicles her journey from an overall feeling of "disconnect" to a more satisfying, simplified, and fruitful existence. Using a series of short, journal-like entries, the book challenges women to become more self-aware and make definitive, positive life changes—to let go of outward expectations and pursue an authentic life.

I couldn't fully shut off the shower this morning. The head dribbled water for about an hour and then made the transition to fat, sporadic drips. It reminded me of the leak in my laundry room. It was the intermittent kind, easy to ignore.

Leaks are evil. I despise them. They are subtle and elusive. Behind the facade, they slowly erode away structure and integrity in secret—unhampered, unchecked. By the time the evidence of their hideous mission announces itself outwardly, the majority of the damage is done.

I learned this the day the damp spot on my ceiling at home swelled from a quarter to a pancake. I got up on the step stool to inspect. Tentatively raising my pointer finger to feel the level of dampness, I touched the pancake ever so gently. The brown patch gave way and all at once my entire hand was swallowed up into the netherworld of pipes and insulation.

Just one tiny push, and drywall rudely crumbled onto my face, sending me sputtering and swaying.

It's odd what you think about in moments like that. I had two distinct things on my mind as I clung to balance:

 

"If I fall and break my neck, how long will it be before someone comes to find me?"

and …

"Betrayer!"

I was miffed with the drywall. ...

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