05
Jan
10

Passing By

       December 24th, after the Christmas Eve Services at the church, I put up some artwork in the lobby.  Some of it was from previous posts on this blog- some of it was my newest stuff.  I wanted it to look nice in hopes of inspiring fellow painters to produce a show.  Lately, we’ve had some pretty cool photography, but less in the painting area.  As I finished hanging the last of it, I reflected at how much I’ve grown as an artist over the past 2 years.  I mentally added the hours spent on each piece and smiled with satisfaction as I realized that I was staring at over a full day’s worth.  I was inspired- knowing that if I was a better steward of my time, I could produce a greater volume and quality of artwork to share with others.  I wondered what the viewers would say.  Would they understand the symbolism?  I wondered who would come to talk to me about it.

       My thoughts were divided that night as I was bothered with a mild inconvenience – I had misplaced my cell phone.  As I hung the paintings, I was mentally backtracking- racking my brain trying to figure out where it could have possibly ended up.  And after checking the church, I hopped in the van to stop by a neighbor’s house where I had visited earlier that day.  In the meantime, my wife had given me her cell phone to use for whatever, so I pulled it out, dialed my number and listened for my ring as I approached my neighbor’s house on foot.  Immediately I heard it- it was faint, but after just a moment of digging through some snow, my phone was in my hand.  I think I even raised it into the air- seriously.  I must have looked sort of stupid, but I was happy, and if some weird spying neighbor happened to be peeping at me, I wanted them to know that I found what I was digging for in my neighbor’s driveway.

       Life was back to normal, and after a short “thank you God!” prayer, my thoughts went back to the artwork.  It would be the weekend before anyone saw it- so my anticipation grew.  It was a smaller crowd- being the weekend after Christmas, but a crowd nonetheless.  I stole a moment from my responsibilities to watch responses to my artwork.  There is a perfect view of the art wall from a balcony on the second floor- so that’s where I camped out. 

       I sat there with my friend Marshall, who lent a listening ear.  I shared with him my anticipation and excitement about the people who would see my artwork.   We both watched and waited for someone to stop and look at what had been painted.  There were a couple of families that rushed by on their way someplace…and then a slow moving older couple who meandered by.  That’s pretty understandable- families are in town, people need to get places, heck- I’m in a hurry sometimes.  This went on with very little engagement from those passing by.  Then Marshall said, “Oh, here comes someone!”  It was pretty comical because he said it in a way a group of hunters would use a forced whisper to point out some deer. 

       The man casually strolled up to the paintings with his hands clasped behind his back, and after a thorough look over of a few of them, he received a nod from one of the other security team members to move along to another post within the church.  He continued on, hands still clasped behind his back, through the lobby. 

“People look at the artwork after the service.”  Marshall said.

“They do?” I replied

“Yeah.  That’s when my family looks at the artwork.”

“Oh.”

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.”  Proverbs 2: 1-5

       I thought about the hours I spent on those pieces, I thought about how I painted them for people to see, I thought about how God wanted to use those paintings to…do something to those people…say something to them…inspire something from them.  Then I thought about God’s creations…

       I thought about all the details he has made to awe us.  To make us smile.  To capture our senses- and our hearts.  To stir our wonder.  To give us mystery.  To remind us that we are so beautifully small.

       More people walked by, and then I thought about how much time of my day was consumed with worry over the location of my cell phone.  How my mind was there while I walked under a brilliant night’s sky.  While I kicked through the snow- Billions of different snowflakes.  I thought about how proud and victorious I felt when I held it high into the air. 

       Then, I thought about how foolish I must have looked to my God (who was watching), as I celebrated the find of my phone, my buried treasure.

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3 Responses to “Passing By”


  1. January 6, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Hey, Tony, I was just passing by and saw your note, so I thought I’d drop a comment.

    I like you.

    The paintings are nice, too.

    You have good thoughts.

    Thanks.

  2. 2 will
    January 14, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    See Tony, I’m not the only guy who reads your blog, my dad reads it to!

  3. 3 Me.
    February 4, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Every time I’m in the church lobby, digging through stryofoam in the midst of my recycle bins, I zone out on your paintings. For some reason, they remind me not to be annoyed by the amount of non-recyclables I must sift through each week, but to focus, rather, on the joy from the knowledge that I am doing my part to maintain the beauty of God’s art. I think less of the “task” and more of everything outside of myself. Does that make sense? Incidentally, “Keep Trying, Mr. McCoy”, is my favorite (you already knew this). I see balance and serenity when I see that particular piece. ~ M.


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