By most Thursday nights, I’m emotionally and physically tapped. Thus it is pizza dinner night at the Fleetwood abode. Justin slightly adjusts his well-worn commute to stop by Little Ceaser’s for dinner in a box. Afterward, you’ll find me lounging on the couch, nose in a book, my phone, or pointed toward the TV. Last night I was sitting there when a thought fell down.
I should get my nails done.
I don’t typically get my nails done, but one broke and another was jagged, and I wanted to try out gel polish. So, out the door I went to the nearest neighborhood nail salon. It was 6:15 and there was no wait. I took my seat at station #5 as instructed and settled in to the faux leather chair. Law and Order was on the TV. Bonus.
A young gal sat opposite me and got to work. She was rail thin and looked 13 years old. Prying my eyes away from the drama unfolding on the screen, I noticed it right away. The way she worked on my nails was different. As she snipped and filed, there was a flourish to her technique. An elegant flick of her wrist and the way she eyed my nails as a masterpiece in progress.
She was an artist pouring her craft into my nails.
Curiosity piqued, I started a halting dialogue marked by those with conflicting native tongues.
“How long have you been doing nails?” I asked.
“Nine years,” she replied. “But I also like to draw things,” she added tentatively and shyly.
I sensed a smidgen of shame. As if she felt the need to prove that she didn’t JUST do nails. I’m quite familiar with the shame game. Over the course of our time together, I learned that she enjoyed drawing comic characters and designs. She also doesn’t draw anymore because she has a 17 month baby girl.
At this point, I was tempted to go into fix it mode with this darling. However, I’m slowly learning to listen and respond with MY HEART rather than MY HEAD.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Chloe. My mom doesn’t speak English, so I asked her for an English name. She told me microwave because I eat all the time to try to gain weight. I chose Chloe instead.”
“You are beautiful as you are, Chloe. And I love your name.”
The end of our time together was nearing, so I asked if she had any photos of her art. She didn’t.
“Please don’t give up your art, Chloe. You can find time even with the baby,” I said.
She smiled and nodded. “I will see you in a few weeks?”
“Yes, yes you will,” I answered. And I swear she walked away a bit straighter toward the remainder of her day.
My Darling Seeker of the Still,
Did you know you are an artist like Chloe? You shine your light into the world through your words, your hands, your choices…everything…all of it. Even through the pain, mistakes, and scars. You aren’t JUST anything. You are a masterpiece because God created you, Jesus died for you, and the Holy Spirit wants to live in you. The art of your life can pour all over this messy world. Please let it. Sometimes it begins with a simple question such as, “What’s your name?”