“God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)
Almost 20 years ago, Annette Short, a good friend, introduced me to “The Highwaymen,” a group of 26 African American artists who painted Florida landscapes. I had never heard of them, but I was intrigued by their art and the history of their painting. Annette gave me a Highwaymen calendar which contained pictures of the artists and their paintings. I remembered Annette’s words, flipped through the calendar, and thought, “I’d like to have one of their paintings.” That was 2004.
That calendar remained on my office wall. Every time I went into the room, I saw a Highwaymen painting … several times a day for the next 19 years. Then, several weeks ago, Annette, told me about a gallery in St. Augustine where Al Black, a Highwayman, would be displaying and discussing his paintings. Immediately, I wanted to go. Then, the night before, my “to do” list popped front center in my head. But when I awoke, something inside said, “Mary, get dressed and go.” I did. I took a solo trip to St. Augustine… a beautiful drive. Once in the city, people and cars everywhere…parking spaces nowhere. I prayed, “God, I want to meet Al Black. Please guide me to a parking space.” I circled the block three more times, the fourth time I found a space beside the gallery. As I entered, I was greeted by a tall gentleman, with a kind face and a warm smile. He said, “I’m Al Black.” About 20 minutes later, I left with a book “The Highwaymen” and Al Black’s address.
Yesterday, my daughter, Angel, and I drove to Fort Pierce, FL to visit Al Black at his home.
A seed planted almost 20 years ago… watered by a thought…daily reminders… fertilized by God’s goodness.
When Annette gave me the calendar in 2004, only four of the original Highwaymen were deceased. Today, according to Al Black, only four are alive. I feel blessed my daughter and I were welcomed in his home to watch him paint and listen to him talk about his early beginnings and the Highwaymen. It was priceless. He touched our hearts profoundly by his grace, humility, honesty, and generosity. As we left, he said, “come back anytime, you are always welcome. I have a front door and a back door, and you are welcome to use both.”
Yes, indeed, Al Black, we will visit again using the front door or back door… whichever door you grace us to enter.
Annette, because of your sharing, the seed was planted. Thank you.
Dear God, thank You for hearing my thoughts and giving so abundantly. More than I could have imagined.
P.S. God answered my thought.