I was particularly moved a week ago upon receiving a lovely long email from someone I've never met in real life. But we have met because of her talent. About 11 years ago I saw her art in a gallery in New Orleans which had my name all over it and had to have it. What I had not known then was it was her very 1st painting & I unknowingly was her 1st sale!
It was called "Oprah's Pearls" and it still has an honored place in my home. I bought it not knowing 6 years later I was going to create and present a piece of my own art to Ms. Winfrey who I have admired greatly who gave her gifts to the world being a huge advocate for service.
My service it turns out for this artist &mother, daughter & woman was a validation I had not known I had done. What I wanted was the image that was calling my name. My gift & promise to myself when I started my career as a visual artist 17 years ago was that I would share the wealth, no matter how meager my wealth would be.
So I always had what I called my "10%-er rule". Whenever I enjoyed a sale I would allocate a minimum of 10% & buy another artist. I've kept my word even to this day.
Well over a decade later in part because of Face book, this very talented woman found me. My heart was full upon reading her lovely words and how she had looked for me all this time to do one singular thing thanking me for what at the time I thought was the thing to do & doing it
What is telling that there are still people who are conscious, considerate & caring? You never ever know who when you put your hands out there who you have empowered. Most of the time you'll never know then something like this will pop up out of the blue. With her permission I am sharing part of her original message to me:
"Just starting out, I didn’t (and still) have any idea of to portray myself as an artist. I was terrified to show my work. And one day as I was learning my craft, an angel showed up and purchased my first painting. It was called "Oprah's Pearls". That day was one of the happiest and proudest of my life. Then to find out that the person was a great artist herself was just too much. Your support propelled me to pursue my present path as a visual artist and writer and will write my history.
I have sold other pieces since then, and each time I do I want to tell you about it. But the day was always bittersweet, because I never had the opportunity to meet and or thank the person who made me believe in my craft. I think you are that person. I have searched for you for years. Seriously for years, just to tell you thank you and how much that meant to me".
Believing in Miracles,
I share this not for ego massaging, but to illustrate that no matter how small you may think what you do can not ripple out and mean a lot to another. I’ve been on the receiving end many times of somewhat gracious patience, expertise; cheers as I meandered along do what I am purposed to do.
Sometime, one may never know as it was for me initially that something you said or did or your humor, your tenderness, your sharing may reach someone in bigger ways then you may imagine. You do not have to be lettered, possess an earth defying skill or jump the highest or throw the furthest or have Oprah Winfrey/ Bill Gates money to be of service or the catalyst for another human being.
Something Dr. Maya Angelou said to me in the lobby of a hotel as I was escorting her to her car after speaking at the African American Women on tour stayed with me for 15 years. In part her comment was in regards to commercial success& creative success was “People think that money & recognition walks hand in hand. Do what you do well. Recognition will come…and then the money will follow”. It was one of many pearls of wisdom I gleaned from that amazing woman.
I’ve carried many just like with this woman, who in small & large ways wave the wind to carry me on gently nudging me to face the sun when I wondered if I should. I’ve done a’ight for a woman who had one semester of sewing in 1964, flunked it & was considered “too sensitive”, too much of a dreamer & was a joke to many, then and now.
Never ever is surprise if by chance long after the money or the memory fades, the gift of your caring, sharing infuse someone lifting them up & they come a’calling. Such an audacious gift, to be enJOYed, that will continue to glow forever and ever,amen.
Be mindful of saying thank you or you’re welcomed
And I thank you…
And you are indeed welcome, Sister artist Janitha Richards of New Orleans.
JHM All rights reserved ©09