He didn't send someone else to help them. He did it himself, in person.~Isaiah 63:8 (The Message)
I walked out of the office, happy it was Friday and surprised by the warmth of the day. When I'd driven to work in the morning darkness, the air had been cold. I could see my breath in the car, stars glittered overhead. Now, I lifted my face to the sun, relishing the light. I was off to make copies of the rough draft of my latest manuscript to send out to readers who had graciously said they'd provide feedback.
Standing at the copier, I could hear the brush and whiz of paper as the machine stacked the pages. I thought, "I should feel better about this accomplishment." But I didn't. "Why did you bother to write this book, Priscilla? It is merely a 'vanity' project. Who wants to read about your experiences? And besides, it is just not that good." Then the other voice: "Have you forgotten? Have you forgotten all the times you have walked from the gate? When a portal has unlocked, and instead of staying at the entry, you've walked onward, delighting in the exploration of that territory? You've moved on and found other unlocked gates."
I remembered. I remembered all the times God, the consummate artist, has provided for me at each and every turn. Moved me to every gateway. Through something I heard on the radio, or in a movie, or from another person. From something I read in a book or in the Bible. From a dream in the night. Always there has been His hand who has pulled me forward, not in a forceful way, but rather that hand that gently lifts, that voice that says, "I've got you; don't be afraid. Look, take these few steps and you'll be at just the right spot. You're never without me, your friend and collaborator."
Earlier in the week, I'd spoken to an artist with whom I feel creative kinship. He is one of those persons who I met when I walked from the gate. I braved calling him to see if he could help with designing a book cover for my last book. I derive pleasure every time I look at the book. And now another book. I braved to call him again. "He's so busy, Priscilla. He has tons of clients and projects. Your project is a drop in the bucket for him." But I knew I couldn't hover at the entrance of the gate. I picked up the phone. "I've got another book in the making. Would you have time this year to design a cover?" "Yes, you are absolutely one of my favorite clients. I love your writing and your use of metaphor. Send me your thoughts and ideas and images. I want to hear what you're thinking."
Most of us second-guess the worth of our projects. A manuscript languishes in a drawer; paints dry up on a shelf; tap shoes gather dust in the back of a closet; ideas remain in a journal. What would you try if you were convinced God was there to support you? You may have already walked through the gateway. Now what is the next step away from the entry?
I felt my heart surge as I walked out of the copy shop. I held the manuscript close to my chest. I wouldn't toss it to the side. I wouldn't disrespect the story. My voice. I'd remember--God's firm grip, guiding me to the next open entry. Artist and artist.