“There are eight million stories in the naked city. This is just one of them.” ~ weekly closing line from early TV detective show
We’d arranged to meet in the café I introduced you to here – Why I Love The Shop Around My Corner.
Waiting alone at a table kitty-corner to the fireplace, I spread my flat, clear-bagged drawing before me. I love this one and am anticipating how she will receive it.
Somehow…I can’t pinpoint how…this piece wraps something indefinable around me in the mood of it. Will she feel it too, I wonder?
I grope again for words to define it. Maybe because it illustrates that ubiquitous Norman Rockwell sort of neighborhood I love here in town, it seems to put me right there, inside the picture, strolling along the sidewalk.
To me, it has the feel of a movie camera panning in on the ‘Father of the Bride’ type block that is about to introduce the film, I muse fancifully. Like you are flying in and about to land on the lawn… hearing the birds singing in the sunshine…almost touching the wave of a blade of grass on the breeze… Or the sensation that I am across the street, leaning dreamily out my second story window and taking in the fresh-aired scene below…
And it is all due to that wonderful wide angle photo I came across online one day. I’d taken my own shots, had one from the owner. But knowing it was for sale, I’d wondered if there might be a better one on Google. Now that googling moment seems God-inspired, because the story in this one just made my fingers fly across the paper. I bless Him again for leading and enabling me to capture this…something.. in it.
It reminds me how I felt Him with me as I prayed and worked on this. Brings back the words of the woman who commissioned it. “I raised all my children in this home,” she shared wistfully. Now that they have to move, she’d been yearning to have a pen and ink house portrait to hold those memories. Found me through this café display of my work.
Sketching in the cloud above the home, my thoughts turned pensive. It’s like You, Lord… I reflected. Our Cloud of protection and leading…pillowy white over them. Is that your promise over this family as they move?
I didn’t know this woman except for a brief conversation. But somehow… I sensed it was. He’d been with them here in this home they cherished. He was going ahead of them now…
Standing back from the drawing to study for perspective, that thought welled a lump in my throat. For this moment, He was weaving their story with mine…
Now, waiting to deliver the drawing in person, I surreptitiously flit my glance over the cafe room, feeling again a bit of that Nancy Drew spirit whispering over my shoulders. Incognito artist scoping out her would-be patrons.
Silently breathing my regular prayer as my gallery showing is wending to close… Lord send the right people who will want these. Let them somehow see Your light on each piece. Bless the work of my hands with Your Favor and theirs…bringing me work beyond my imagination…
And wishing I could somehow see into the realm of God’s ministering angels sent to stir unseen stories around me in answer…(Hebrews 1:13,14: “And did God ever say to an angel, as he does to his Son, “Sit here beside me in honor until I crush all your enemies beneath your feet”? No, for the angels are only spirit-messengers sent out to help and care for those who are to receive his salvation.”)
But...sigh. This crowd could be sitting in a sterile cement-walled railway station for all they seem to notice anything surrounding them. The same way each time I come in here lately.
Appearances aren’t always as they seem, I console myself, glancing at the faces nearby, wondering about the storylines of their lives in this moment.
- The single across the way, sitting just under a couple of my favorite pieces. Head bent, fingers poised above the obviously engrossing glow of his laptop.
- Two middle-aged women salubriously greeting one another over coffee and scones, dressed as if for party, bangles jangling.
- The bookworm nose down in pages… the café worker on break.
When…here she is before me.
“You must be Pam!” she greets.
I stand to grasp her hand, and we sit to chat a few minutes. “I love it!” she enthuses, a glisten behind her eyes as she holds it in her hands.
“I’m so glad!” I answer.
Politeness warms into a few minutes of sharing. She tells me bits of what the home has meant to her. How this drawing feels like an heirloom of those mostly halcyon days…
“Are you moving far?” I inquire, not knowing if they are just moving to an upscale neighborhood or –”
“Yes,” she says softly, indicating a town I know well, across the country where her husband is embarking for his job.
“You’ll be by the breathtaking lake!” I cheer brightly.
“We will!” she concedes, knowing it is a true draw to that place.
I’m thinking of the beauty of the evergreens there by those blue rainbow waters, the way I’ve seen them drenched in sun and capped in snow… and perhaps she is too, for she suddenly notes how she and her family have always loved the evergreens here, behind their home, the way the snow gives them Christmas card raiment in winter… She points to one in the range I’ve depicted that reminds me of can can ladies dancing in a row behind her house, relating how a new neighbor may have cut one of those down for more space since that photo I’d used… And to the spot of the newer little tree out front that once boasted a gorgeously grown maple…
I’m glad all over again she told me of her daughter’s love of soccer, how her son often leans his lacrosse stick against their breezeway… the little details that speak family in this drawing… See her looking at those nods to her kids’ loves within the drawing too.
And just before she stands up to leave, she opens up a fresh wonder to me. “You know, I never even saw your work here before today,” she says, waving at my drawings circling the café…”
I look into her eyes, with a silent Hmm??
She smiles. “It was my friend. She was eating here one day and got so excited because she knew I’d been looking everywhere for someone who could do this pen and ink portrait for me – how much I wanted to get one done before we leave.”
That wave of the Holy Spirit moving tingles over me as she finishes on a merry laugh.
“She actually was walking around here snapping photos for me on her phone!”
I join in her laugh. Another voice in my head makes me chuckle too… A somber, serious TV detective’s voice declaring…There are eight million stories in the naked city…
Simultaneously my eyes are opened… for I am remembering another woman who recently found me through a similar tale. And God is saying,
See how I am moving in stories all around you,, interlocking them with yours, behind the scenes. You think nothing is happening. But I am moving on your behalf. I have more than eight million stories of blessing in the writing now. This is just ONE of them…
She stands then. We have only skimmed the surface of our words, but… maybe there were a few cinnamon scones and tea kind interlaced, for she spontaneously leans in. “I’m going to give you a hug,” she says without effusiveness, but in a time capsule second that seems redolent with kindred feeling.
And I am left with the thought that I don’t trust the Lord’s provision in my need for sustenance, financial and otherwise, nearly as much as I want to. I wonder and strain and can’t see He is moving, when all the time his “pen” is flying across the pages of our lives, leading and covering us BY HIS CLOUD. She didn’t have to be here to see my work… for He led her friend here… then connected us… for just such a time as this.
It’s interesting that gifts are never just for ourselves. I love the gift of knowing that each time she looks at this piece, she will remember special joys and zany family jokes like how that willow tree, lovely as it may seem, has been the bane of their existence with it’s dropping leaves clogging up their drains, prickling and sticking to their dog’s fur, and… alternating them between a scream and a laugh (even if ruefully!). “Willows belong by the river, not homes!” she expostulates with a grin.
No, this isn’t a story about my artwork… but one of how God leans in to the cries of His children. One with bills to pay and prayers for work to expand. Another with a mist of heaviness at leaving a home she’s cherished for the unknown.
And of how He makes us part of His answers, one to the other.
Mm…Such are the stories our Father weaves.
How I love the way He writes! 🙂
© Pam Depoyan
Come across one of your own “Cloud Cover Stories” lately?
Those stories of God moving behind the scenes…
Share it in my comments! 🙂
Then the Angel of God, who was leading the people of Israel, moved the cloud around behind them, and it stood between the people of Israel and the Egyptians. And that night, as it changed to a pillar of fire, it gave darkness to the Egyptians but light to the people of Israel! So the Egyptians couldn’t find the Israelis!
Meanwhile, Moses stretched his rod over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the sea…
~ Exodus 14:19-21
Artwork: mine, under my copyright (please do not copy without permission. See my copyright info button on the sidebar. )