Fog covered my view of the city as I drove across the bridge. I thought of the story in the Old Testament when God led the Israelites through the desert--a pillar of cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night. This low-lying cloud seemed to symbolize my artist's journey for the last fifteen years--following that metaphorical cloud--trusting I'd be led to the next stop. These thoughts ran through my head as I made my way to a writing workshop. The location for the class was close to my house. I had confidence that I'd find the Eclectic Cafe quickly. I'd be early.
I missed my turn. I became lost in my own city. My GPS went berserk, and I drove around in circles. Finally, I stopped and asked for help. "Where is Spring Street?" I spoke loudly from the car window, the fog still thick. The kind woman's face looked blurred. She yelled back, "You're close. Go straight, and it's to the right." Thank God. I sweated with apprehension. The workshop had already started. I would not be early. I hated being late, everyone looking at me, an interruption.
I couldn't find parking--so many one way streets. At one point I drove down a street the wrong way, another driver enraged and flipping me off. How could I be so stupid? My thinking gradually deteriorated as I drove maniacally looking for parking. "I might as well pack it up and go home; it's hopeless. I'm already late." I sat at a stop sign ready to turn right and head home, then looked up and there just across the street was an open space. Was I hallucinating? There were no "Two Hour" parking signs--no "Parking Pass Required" warnings. I'd have a long walk. I'd go. I arrived sweating and somewhat off kilter--very, very late. But there at the table sat five other smiling artists who welcomed me, embraced me. "We just now started. Sit down. We're so happy to see you."
Once again, God's leading proved sufficient to guide me to the next stop on the artist's pathway. And always there are other artists, like a choir, each one singing their part, the harmony of voices like Siren songs that don't destroy. I realize, too, that I'm part of that choir, my voice adding to the beauty of our anthems. Because all of us keep opening our mouths to sing, because we keep practicing, our hands wet with paint, our fingers stained with ink, our voices hoarse, our sinews sore from the dance, we urge each other on. Our collective passions bring validation not only to each other, but also to a world that craves our arias of comfort and hope.
I wend my way home, tired after a hearty morning of writing prompts and learning to revise. Practice, practice, practice, more steps along the artist's journey. God leading, a song on my lips.
God went ahead of them in a Pillar of Cloud during the day to guide them on the way, and at night in a Pillar of Fire to give them light; thus they could travel both day and night. The Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night never left the people.~Exodus 13:21-22, The Message