Wednesday, January 25, 2012

{tears and art and light}

Robbie and Scott making beautiful music at Photizo

If you read this consistently, then that means you know me or at least are a facebook friend. So you would then know that I have been organizing and planning and praying over and sweating over an event called PHOTIZO. Photizo was designed to showcase local artist (myself included) and raise awareness for what our church family is doing globally. We have our hearts in three, beautiful nations: Ecuador, Haiti, and Vietnam. So, Photizo was born. Photizo means to illuminate, to shed light upon. It's sort of a big deal. :) And, to ice that big, beautiful cake, we had a few local companies set up shop and donate for missions! (Thank you again and again Janet's Cakery and Coffee Waves) Plus Cat Herndon Photography donated a photo session to be auctioned off (THANK YOU!) and Robbie Seay led us in song! (Get his new album! It's fabulous). And all this to say, that night was a complete success. We raised over $6,000 and only a handful of the (over) 100 pieces of art we showcased didn't sell. It was spectacularly fun and there were so many pretty things. We had tables set up sharing more information from actual people who have been to these countries. It was splendid.

A friend looking at some art
When I felt God placing the story of Photizo in my heart last spring, our church was in great transition. So it took many months for the dream of Photizo to become a reality. And truly, so many people had no idea what I was talking about when I said "art auction...for missions, yea....with art...and wood pallets. You know. The kind you find behind wal-mart?? Maybe some coffee. Or cake. Or both...yea...."

Haha...yes. I heard crickets. But thankfully, we attend a church full of brave, adventurous, passionate, Jesus-pursuing people. And wow! I'm overwhelmed and delighted by the beauty of the night. It whirled by fast, didn't it? I have my check list in place already for next year. We had some people fill out comment cards and it was all good stuff to think about. I've only heard amazing words of affirmation from everyone. THANK YOU. Seriously. Thank you.

Naturally, I was a basket case leading up to Photizo. I hardly saw my littles the weekend of (thank you grandma!) and I was running around completing last minute tasks. I had an amazing community to plan this with. Our office administrative hero, Sara,  was priceless, plus the life group that I share life with daily, and so many people from the creek. It was serious fun bid'ness.

Me, Robbie Seay, and our pastor (i love this pic haha)
But one of the special moments of the week for me was when my cute husband's childhood English teacher and her husband called me to ask to donate money to the show, and if I could set aside a piece of art for them. Their words warmed every bit of me and I had tears in my eyes as I processed all the kindness they were sharing with me about Nathan and our little family. I spoke first to the man, who I have met before. His kindness resonated deep within me and I appreciated all that he was saying. His voice and the affection in it was what brought tears to my eyes first. Then his darling wife, Nathan's teacher, got on the phone and just bubbled with delight over my husband and his ministry. She encouraged me with loving words and stirred a deep fountain of peace within me. Their kind affirmation sent me home on a cloud. When I walked in the door, I met my friend Jamie and set about sharing the story with her, and then with Nathan as soon as he arrived. I was giddy about their encouragement and told several more of you about them as the weekend progressed.
me and Jamie

His request for my art sent me directly to my storage to look through the pieces that I had and I found a blank canvas and decided then and there to paint him something special instead. I've almost completed the picture, it needs a few more fine details and then it needs to be sealed. I was planning on doing that today and then hand delivering it to them this week so that I could tell them face to face that their encouragement spurred me on through the weekend of chaos. That his words of affirmation and her affectionate kindness reached me deeply and it was something I hadn't even realized that I was hungry for. (Words of affirmation are my love language).

But Monday night, I had a missed call from Nate's Gram as I was helping Wesley rearrange his room. Not 10 minutes later, my sweet husband walked in the door. I told him, I had a missed call from Grammy and it sounded rather ominous and I was about to call her back. Then he shared the news that the man "had a heart attack and died today".

I was in shock. And I cried. Nathan asked if I was okay, and I went to our room to call Gram back. Her line was, of course, busy. So I sat on our big bed and cried into the blanket.

When I finally spoke to Gram late last night, she encouraged me in her reassuring Gram style and shared her love and congratulated me on what a wonderful event we had (she was able to attend and see all the art displayed so prettily).

I hung up with Gram, sat on my bed again, and cried some more. It's a powerful thing, this thing called death. It seperates us from our loved ones. It breaks our hearts and our spirits. It makes us cry and scream and sob and scream some more. It enrages us and fills us with fear and dread. But I know that it doesn't have to be this way.

Michael, one of our artists of the night
I know that our God is bigger than death. He beat it down with a stick and stepped on it's face. He is the victor. THE victor. Of sin. Of death.

But still, I grieve for this man who encouraged me. I don't know if I will be able to attend the funeral, but I do have the painting to give to his wife; a woman who encouraged my husband as he grew into the man that he is today.

All this to say, I've been floating on a cloud since Photizo. A lot of it due to the encouraging words that so many have shared with me. The affirmations from SO many people have just given me such joy and peace. It's a delight to my heart to hear you speak such kindness and to know that our efforts were so successful. Photizo was an auction. Yes. But it was a way for people like you and me to participate in a global endeavor to love the people of the world. To love them and be near them even at a great distance.

And be praying for this family. And the community that they were a part of. And be mindful of the people you cross. Their story is an important one. It's a story that you can participate in by simply loving, and showing mercy. You just might be that one light to illuminate the darkness that suffocates them.

That's all. Thanks for the love you share with me. I can not thank you enough.


1 comment:

  1. Oh you sweet beautiful soul!! I am so sorry to hear about the dear sweet man who encouraged you but am thankful that God used him to encourage you during his last days on this Earth. Thank you for following your vision and being such a wonderful example of allowing Christ to do all things through us. You are a sweet blessing to so many! I miss you, sweet Jade!!