Funny how she is always thanking me for spending time with her.
I’ve out-lived her by some three decades, and my greatest hope as I mentor her is to impart courage to keep seeking, to keep pressing into the unique gifts she holds in her heart.
In some ways, I am motivated by a debt.
Once, there was a man who knelt on the kitchen floor with me, crayons in hand, and ignited a passion for color in a two-year-old heart. Once there was a woman who kindled the flames with extracurricular art lessons at a school 45 minutes-drive from home. Today there are heart-friends who keep urging me to press on through self-doubt and failure.
But there is more than gratitude. Little does she realize the inspiration that ambushes me through our friendship.
Maybe it’s a coffee-shop rumination about busting the boundaries of “worship”, about meeting God in the flow of artistic expression, about His delight as we simply dwell in the gifts He’s given us.
Perhaps it’s a car-ride wrestling over how to draw artistic boundaries, like what we will or will not express through our craft and where we want our output to be viewed.
Or maybe it’s an urban rambling in search of texture and light for a photo-shoot, a mutual delight in peeling paint and shafts of setting sun.
She is full of dreams in the brooding waters of her brown eyes. She paints, writes music and sings, and models (click on the links to check out her work). She lives creatively in the space in between. I am amazed and inspired by her initiative and sheer guts at such a young age to pluck opportunity and turn it into progress towards her goals. (Like this Facebook announcement she posted, for example: “I have some news guys! The 6th and final song for my upcoming EP has been recorded & is currently being produced! I’ll be setting the release date for ‘The Letter’ EP soon, watch for it!”)
Together we light the fire of artistic what-ifs, and I leave with the embers still glowing.
Quite simply, she is a gift.