The Sketch Artist. I believe there are no chance meetings. We are constantly interacting with one another in the flow of time and space with purpose. And if we stay awake and present while in the company of another, there is always a message to be given to us, whether that person is aware of giving a message or not. God gets His messages across to us in some pretty unique and unexpected ways. And that's just what "the sketch artist" did for me.
My oldest daughter plays Suzuki violin. And my family was attending a student concert on this particular day. The room we gathered in was small compared to the chapel in which the students usually performed. But all the parents made do with fold-out chairs and close quarters. A few grandparents were there, as usual, but one grandparent kept grabbing my attention. In his hand he held a few sheets of wrinkly scrap paper and was quickly putting pen to this paper like he was on a mission, though it appeared an unorganized mission. I couldn't imagine what he was doing, as all the rest of us were politely sitting in our uncomfortable chairs, smiling at each child who performed a piece, giving our focused attention. But with another glance I noticed that he was sketching each child as he or she played, not just his grandson or granddaughter. He flew through each sketch with focus and flair, yet when a song was finished and it was time for the next student to play, he quickly shifted his focus to create another sketch. I was touched at the way this man chose to connect with this event, at the way he chose to look at each child, even for just a moment, and capture his or her essence as the music came alive.
When the concert was over I made my way over to him, as did a few curious others who had seen him sketching. Turns out he was from Italy and spoke with a heavy accent, but he was confused as to why we were so interested in what he had been doing. Of course, all the parents wanted to see which child was theirs in his collection, and they were expecting him to tear off their child's sketch and hand it over. But they soon backed off when they realized he did not sketch for anyone's personal art wall at home. He simply did it because that is what he does. He is a creator. He allows the flow of others to speak to him, thus turning it into art. He was being obedient to his calling as an artist. He was not after a masterpiece that day. This was just the way he interpreted the concert. Seeing everyone as a unique work of art, capturing a nuance in a child here and there. He was such a calm man, with no pretense. I could see that he flowed with life; he didn't fight against it. He attended this concert as an active participant, if you ask me. While I often feigned interest as another child butchered "Andantino", or another child played what seemed to be an unending piece, I realized that I was not in the moment, not in the flow. Watching him sketch, for really no reason or for anyone's benefit, I understood that I needed to be more willing to let my own creations surface. Even if it is just creating a more patient heart within me or creating a smile for the child who butchered his piece.
I understand that all artists are born to create. But aren't we all artists? Aren't we all creating every minute of each day? Planning our day, creating a comfortable home environment, raising our children, performing our work duties, making a meal, and planting flowers and shrubs and trees in our yard in hopes of a beautiful scene. We also create by imagining a better future and speaking our truth to others. We are also known to create some pretty terrifying and harmful things too. But nevertheless, we are creators . . . artists.
When I have too tight a reign on my creative side. When I'm too rigid and expect perfection, with the all-or-nothing mind-set, I remember the sketch artist and his welcoming flow of creativity.