Oops! There it went again…that noise in the washer. Oh well, it would be like everything else…broken-down, disheartened and finally just thrown away. Wasn’t that how life was supposed to go? One disappointment after another, almost no breathing time in between trials…just like mama told me it would. She wasn’t bitter; she just spoke the truth of how life could be.
Bless mama as she lay in the grave on the hill. She tried hard to give me a life, but daddy ran out on her and taking in the rich people’s wash didn’t pay the bills. She tried, the Good Lord knew she tried, but the joy left her one day and it never came back.
I remember her joy…how she sang as she washed and ironed. It would make me smile and hum along. We weren’t just poor we were ‘dirt poor’ as people would say, but we loved each other and when things got really bad, the Lord would lead people to leave a sack of groceries on the porch. That was always a happy day…flour, sugar, coffee…we would have a fine meal that night.
Mom loved to watch me draw…I didn’t do it much because there was never enough paper and pencils…but how I longed to sketch people. God gave me insight into people’s souls. Somehow, I just knew what they were feeling, how deep or shallow they were. I could see it in their eyes and I could capture their souls on paper. It was a gift and I tucked it away for when there was time.
But, the time never came and now I was old. Not so much in years but in my bones. My husband bought me a set of pencils and paper to sketch again for my fiftieth birthday. I held the pencils in my hand, feeling the wood as I closed my eyes and sought to capture the depth of my husband. I folded the cover of the tablet behind the paper and prayed for the gift to come forth from my hands.
At first, the hesitancy was there, but as I drew, the soul of my husband emerged. Scruffy beard with hollowed out cheeks, salt and pepper hair that thinned at the crown. But, his gray eyes penetrated lives, for when he looked at you—he saw you. He didn’t see what you wanted him to see but he saw the true essence of your being.
The portrait done, Tony stared at himself and slowly walked to the phone.
“What are you doing?” I sang out.
“I’m calling the newspaper in town…they need to do a story on you.”
And a story they did…a story about talents and how God honors and blesses when we use what we’ve been given to glorify him. They put my picture in the paper with the headline of “Never Too Old To Use What You’re Given,” not catchy, but effective.
I was later commissioned to do the Governor’s portrait; thankfully he was a good man with a deep soul. As I drew, his God fearing eyes blazed and I praised God that his character flowed through my pencil.
God sent many important people to be sketched… senators, lawyers, and a few celebrities and God brought forth their soul from my pencil. Not always the depth they hoped for, but it was as deep as they allowed themselves to go.
But where I got my deepest reward that made my soul soar was from the down trodden--who rejoiced in the midst of sorrow, who kept the faith as their stomach growled, who shared their hearts freely and who served you tea in their most prized chipped cups. These are the chosen, the ones with the souls that blazed my paper, their eyes burned into the hearts of man.
So the last shall be first and the first last…
God continued to bless me with the ability to draw the soul…so I continued for many years. Nearing my ninetieth birthday, my husband gave me another set of pencils to sketch more lives. But, my hand was shaky and my eyes a blur…
…there is a time for every event under heaven….
Tired, I laid down to rest and awoke in Heaven’s glory. The beauty I saw could not be sketched for only God could draw the soul of heaven.
And then my Father led me to the Book of Life…pointing to my name I saw myself sketched by the Master himself…
My soul was home.
Matt. 20:16 (NAS)
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