Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Art of Slowing Down

I have this amazing friend, Susan, who is pretty much everything I am not....and I just love her even though I have probably not seen her, in person, since the 90's when we lived in the Okanagan and she and her husband, Josh, were youth leaders for our youth group at Lakeview Heights.  Those were the golden days of youth ministry for so many reasons, not the least being great leaders who became our friendship circle.

Over the years, I've had an ongoing friendship with Susan in which she just exemplifies, long distance, the kind of person I want to be. She is a great mom with vibrant, creative kids that she allows to express themselves so beautifully. She serves in an inner city school and in her local church and the girl will sing with anyone on the street that will give her a minute to edge in. I love her enthusiasm for life even more for the fact that I know it came at a price. She learned to love life because there was a time when she couldn't.

This week, again, she challenged me with her life and her willingness to see people and really, really stop and speak and listen to them. If she hadn't, I too, would have missed the art of slowing down. And the real art of the one who she slowed down long enough to listen to. She's fulfilling her promise to share his art with others. I'm sharing the art of slowing down that Susan shared with me, in her words:

I wonder how many times I have missed stories like this because I didn't slow down?

I'm so thankful I stopped and chose to 'see' this man.On first glance he is an aged man, soaking in perhaps the last rays of spring sun in Central Park that he will ever see. His skin is almost transparent, his hands are speckled and shaky. Thankfully, his caregiver speaks out the life that is this man.  He is an artist by the name of William Scharf. In the 1950s he was a part of the movement that Wikipedia calls the 'New York School' movement.
After his caregiver tells me who he is, I look it up on my phone and we look together at the beautiful artwork that the www shows me. He smiles and veeeerrrryyyy slowly tells me that books of his artwork are available in art stores. I hold his hand and look in his eyes and thank him for his creativity and expression, and I promise to share it with my friends.
He holds my hand longer than is necessary, and I can't help but wonder why we don't hold hands with our friends more often.
All the beautiful happened on a sunny Monday morning in New York.

Little Angel of the Pike 2009

The Oracle of the Bees 2001

Emphatic, but gentle inclination 2007

Egg Bridge 2004

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