This is the third story on hidden gems discovered in everyday.
Last fall, my husband and I headed out on our extended RV road trip and along the way, we made stops in some of the most scenic parks in the country. One of our stops was in Wyoming in Glacier National Park. It was fall, and the colors of the leaves were fantastic. The only thing that wasn’t super great was the weather that particular day. It was cold, foggy and drizzly. Oddly enough you could still see quite a bit of the terrain until you hit the higher elevations. We stopped periodically to capture glimpses of wildlife and fall color. At one stop I wasn’t sure I wanted to head out. My fingers were cold and stiff. And it was drizzling out. That meant I would get damp and cold pretty quickly. Hubby couldn’t resist and had to head down the hill to get a closer look at the water that carved its way through the wilderness area.
I sat in the stillness of the car and watched as a few brave souls headed out, like Pat, to get a quick glimpse. I then saw a young man dressed in full rain gear painting! I watched from the warm security of the car until my curiosity got the best of me. I headed out to see what he saw. To see what he was creating with such diligence as he was shivering in the cold.
I approached and apologized for intruding on his solitude and glanced over observing that his painting was beautiful. His hands guided the paintbrush in small brush strokes in an attempt to capture on canvas what his eye was taking in. The textures. The beauty in the intricate details of the trees, rock, and water. The light and the dark. It was intriguing. I asked him if he was a local artist and found out that he travels around different areas like this, capturing beautiful scenery. He is a professional artist/painter from California. I asked if it would be alright to take his picture and he granted it. We chatted briefly about his travels seeking out some of the beauty around us. What a cool way to live.
At the time of taking the picture, it occurred to me that a young artist I knew might enjoy this and find it inspiring. What I hadn’t predicted was how this picture and encounter would continue to invite me into its pure beauty. I tucked it into my memory until later.
A couple of months after we returned, I was asked to share part of my strengths story at a women’s retreat. The topic: God’s Masterpiece. I pondered what I might share of my story and how to invite others into part of my story and remembered this picture. I was reminded of the attention to detail that this artist took. He was out in the cold and rain determined to capture this moment. It was fleeting. But he had a plan and project…a masterpiece to create. There are some colors and details that a camera doesn’t always recreate as vividly or do it proper justice. The droplets on branches, the mist that hovers for a moment and then is gone. But the artist has the recall and the attention to the details that can be overlooked or missed. This is how my strength of connectedness and belief collide. There are few coincidences and so much of life is connected. Seeing with my eyes vivid examples of faith and creation, sometimes in its purest form, through others- even strangers- that reminds me of the faithfulness and incredible love and creativity of Christ. The beauty of a moment. The opportunity to then share this moment with others in vivid detail. The invitation to pause and take note. The opportunity to also remind beautiful souls that they matter and were created on purpose.
Ephesians 2:10 (New Living Translation) says 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ,Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
There is intentionality in this. We were not haphazardly slapped together. It took time and processing. There was a specific plan and purposeful design. Each part of us was intentionally created. Much like the artist in my picture- the creator of the masterpiece has a particular vantage point that He works from. There are delicate steps to his process, and some take time and patience to complete. But he can see it come together. He sees the beautiful outcome of his deliberate creation.
- decide on and arrange in advance.
- design or make a plan of (something to be made or built).
- In perspective rendering, one of several imaginary planes perpendicular to the line of vision between the viewer and the object being depicted.
- To have as a specific aim or purpose; intend.
- To draw or make a graphic representation of.
Side note. I have been working on this post for a couple of weeks now. Last weekend I was invited to help facilitate a strengths retreat for a camp for children with health complications. One of the little campers who captured my attention entered angrily. Why? Because she felt alone. Scared. She couldn’t understand “why she was even alive.” My dear little one- you are valued. You are loved. You are seen. I am grateful that I had been prepared in my heart for such a moment as this(My strength of belief.) We travelled together, from angry fits to tears to hugs and then a little hope-filled smile. If you are struggling like my small camper friend, please tell someone. Find someone to remind you of your purpose and value in this world. Find a good therapist. Read scripture. Here is what I do know -You were designed and created by a loving and creative God. You matter. That is why you are alive. Know that.