Working last evening and then turning around to work this morning proved challenging. This was due to my inability to calm my mind down after writing about yesterday's encounters and an overall restless night's sleep. I woke up super tired and when I'm in this place all I want is to spend the day alone. BUT, that isn't in the cards when you are working in the public eye. So how do I handle that? I get on my knees and turn to God, my Strengthener. I asked for energy and stamina, but mostly that today He would be my words, and move my heart to listen and care about others. May a reiterate that when I'm tired like this, kindness, patience, and being around others aren't my natural bent. The day would be a challenge, but I was ready to lean on my God.
After a refreshing talk with a close friend (while outside enjoying a walk) I arrived at the mall to find the entire mall staff waiting. They were walking the floor, as they do daily, and were analyzing the space in which we'd moved the mosaic. I was encouraged by our conversation and reminded again why I love partnering with Gateway's management. They have a heart and vision for so much more than the bottom line. It never ceases to amaze me that they interact with the people who walk daily and know them well. They help to make the mall a community of people and not just a building with people in it.
As you can tell relationships and people became the theme of today once again. But today a challenge lay ahead as God brought more and more people to talk - various mall walking and maintenance friends, Jo (who I now think comes for a daily hug), older folks sharing all types of jokes and stories with me, an artist, a church planter, a co-worker / friend, and two gals from Omaha who were wondering around the mall playing a new interactive gaming app. As I write this, I'm surprised and amazed at how God moved today. How He answered the prayer for stamina, patience, and the ability to represent all parties involved in this project in manner worthy of Him. That's not me for sure. I recall a couple times while placing glass that my heart cried out for energy and the ability to talk to one more person. All I wanted to do was get wrapped up in the art (which is my happy place). And I'm thankful today for His answers to prayer and for the gifts He has already placed in my life, like my son Anthony. Anthony is a gamer and loves to tell me all about the ones he plays. Now, I'm no gamer, half the time I don't quite understand what he is telling me BUT God has used him to teach me how to listen, learn from, and really engage with someone who has an interest that I don't care for or know nothing about. I am thankful for this and write it because my last and longest conversation or rather listening session centered around gaming and learning about the new Pokemon Go game. Having played a little of the card game I'm somewhat familiar but these two gals gave me the 411 on the game. And they shared memories with me about their lives and like the woman the other day thanked me for listening when our conversation finally closed.
That seems to continue to be a theme. People are craving a listening ear. A listener who cares not to interject their thoughts and ideas but someone to just be there and hear them out. So I ask today, who needs you to listen? Your spouse, your kids, a co-worker, maybe the person behind you in the check out line.... People are everywhere if we are willing to look and listen. And listen with out saying a word - listen with full attention.
I want to end there but also want to tell you progress did get made on the mural - one side of the tree is about outlined and while I'm working, more of the deeper meaning of the piece is surfacing. (This is normal while working on an art piece. Much of the meaning comes from the journey. I look forward to sharing more of that in another blog.)
And thanks for all the continued prayers and visitors. It has been an overwhelming response from everyone. Thanks for following the journey. And side note: I got some much needed silent, restful time this afternoon so I'm refreshed and ready to work tomorrow!
Ann has worked as a professional artist since 2006. She currently works on her own studio artwork as well as large, commercial works and with other artists in any way she can.