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I love Thanksgiving.
It’s fall and comfort food. It’s a chance to be more consciously thankful, and people seem to be happier in general. Yes, there’s a connection there – between those two things.
The pride of my yearly crafting is my Thanksgiving card design. I spend the whole year thinking and looking at art trends. I toggle between simple and elegant and more complicated mini master-arts. I only call them that because each of the 25-30 cards I make each year is similar in style, but 100% an original like no other.
Sometimes my choice of action comes down to time and how much I have or don’t. Depending on how early or late I decisively decided to commit to a card and how complicated my choice is.
Breaking a card down into pieces helps determine the order of preparation and assembly. Early on I learned that gluing all the pieces together for each card individually takes way more time than an assembly line approach.
This year’s card was no exception. I decided to multi-media for a more impressive pallet.
Then, I played around with supplies on hand, measuring if there was enough of everything to create a full 30 or if some number would end up with slight back-ground, frame or brad variations. I miraculously came close to using one specific set of stock. I rationally suspected I may have a few shortages, but the likelihood of someone in one state sharing their card with someone they don’t know in another state assured me that was going to be ok.
I always over-cut, over-stamp, over-fold, in case of slips, skews, and off-pattern veering. And in case I forgot any new recipients I might have acquired over the past year.
Assembly would be straight forward once I established my steps and prepped my foundations.
Pleased with my planning, I pronounced what all experienced, yet still unwise crafters (incredulously) proclaim at the beginning of any project.
“Great! That’ll be easy.”
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Until then, I’d never experienced our church from the pulpit view. I’d done a reading once, down a tier at the presenters’ lectern. I once made a nervous mission announcement from there, as well.
I don’t know how many seconds passed before I began to speak.
There may have been no delay, at all.
Maybe my mind was moving faster than time. Or, maybe time truly suspended giving me a moment to catch up.
Being caught in that living still frame isn’t something I’ve ever been able to escape. Nor the feeling of being yanked back to the conscious present based solely on the physiological need to breathe.
This is what I saw: our church – our house of worship – filled. Surpassing Christmas, surpassing Easter. Standing room only, was truly that.
People lined the outer walls, the back walls, stood in the lobby, 2-3 deep in respectful rows, sat shoulder to shoulder. Hands clasped, eyes turned, a hush-filled quiet uncomfortably questioning what was about to happen.
So unexpected. So. Many. People.
I don’t know what I thought I’d see from up there, but that wasn’t it.
Someday, I want to paint the way I felt: far-away shadow figures, vague- shaped contours; impressionistic forms. It’s not that they don’t deserve to be individualized. It’s rather that they were one cohesive group, for the first time, for the last time, forever.
I’ve run the scene so many times; replayed when I need to feel stronger. I remember I did that and remind myself if I got through then, I can get through now.
I have an issue listening for God or to Him. I’ve gone way too long in some situations and found myself happily or unhappily God-smacked.
Like upside the head, like, “Hey, dammit (if God swore), pay attention!”
Like a physical push, showing me out of a situation that has long since run it’s course.
It’s easy to glance back and see the dozens of times the message almost got through to me. Last week, one actually did.
GOD: Dwelling. Places.
ME: (stubbornly) How. Many. Heavens?
Suddenly, I saw it so clearly. I knew.
In that sea of souls, right there in our Father’s house of worship, there were many dwelling places.
Down here, we call them hearts. Each person there, took him all the way Home in theirs.
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