Sunday, March 25, 2012

Do You Believe in Angels?

"Sandve, Norway," oil on canvas

Do you believe in angels? I do. The Bible mentions angels many times including this favorite passage: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Heb 13:2 KJV)

After taking a long hiatus away from art to work full time and obtain health benefits for my family, I took the plunge. I started painting again and went to my first show in years with some artist friends. I was terrified.

I prayed. I clenched my teeth and the steering wheel as I drove to location. Should I proceed and risk making a fool out of myself or turn around and go back home?

“You might be surprised,” a voice inside my brain said. “What have you got to lose?” Indeed, I thought and proceeded to the show.

"Skudeneshavn, Norway," 16x20 Commission (Sold)

No sooner had I set up table than two women came on the scene, almost out of nowhere, and made a beeline for one of  my paintings. They were chattering away in Norwegian, and in measured English asked the price. I told them and they indicated they would have to get cash.

When they left, I was open-mouthed. I kept the painting on display not knowing if they’d return or if it was all a dream. The women seemed linked as a pair, walking and moving in unison. An hour later, they returned with cash. They bought the painting, a rendering of the coastline of Sandve, Norway. Afterward, they literally disappeared from the scene. I never saw them again.

I did wonder if they were angels sent to encourage me when I might have given up. At any rate, I have had similar experiences in my lifetime. God uses people to help us and to encourage us. Are they angels? Who can say? Yesterday I had such an experience.

"Tansy's Pride," 9x12 Pastel

Once again,  I was at an art show. It had been a long day. Although many people had enjoyed my work, even laughing at my cartoon posters and looking at my cards and paintings, no one had purchased. I was next to a jeweler, and the women seemed drawn to the vendor’s affordable and dazzling wares.

By the end of the day, I felt like a failure. Perhaps my work wasn’t good enough? Perhaps it was time to “really retire” and quit painting altogether? I couldn’t help but mull these options over as I perspired in the scorching heat.

A moment later, a large woman confined to a wheelchair pushed slowly toward my paintings. She seemed hypnotized by them. I was sitting in the shade nearby and watched as she examined each one. When she took my biography and business card, I made my move and introduced myself.

Turns out she was with the “blind artists” in another booth at the fair. Imagine, partially blind, and having the courage to paint and show your wares. We shared stories. She told me how much she liked my work and that I was an inspiration to her. My work had given her a reason to keep painting. It made my day!

"A Joyful Heart," 9x12 pastel

Was she an angel? At that moment in time she was to me. She reminded me that I didn’t have to struggle with a disability. I could see! I was so uplifted and encouraged by this woman that the time I’d spent feeling sorry for myself now seemed wasted.

Do you believe in angels? They’re everywhere! Perhaps you’ve been one to someone else, and you didn’t even know it. I better understood why I enjoy painting people. Each one is a miracle in his or her way, struggling with enormous problems, often feeling separate and alone.

We are woven together, this “family of God.” How precious are these connections and how fine the threads that bind us; ties that may so easily be broken in a fallen world.