Today, at work, as an inbound sales consultant at a call center I recited an original poem to a customer. (At his request, of course.) We were conversing and communicating in a very friendly, but professional manner that eventually he was inclined to ask what I planned to do with my life. I was put on the spot. I mentioned my aspirations in my current career choice first but I could not deny that most important part of myself: my passion. So I told him I was a creative writer who specialized in poetry and spoken word. Unlike other individuals whom I’ve told this to in relevant conversation, he stopped and actually requested that I put my money where my mouth was so to speak. It wasn’t belittling it was more so encouraging, as if he honestly desired to hear something I’d written. I respectfully gave a noncommittal answer because I wasn’t sure what the protocol was on the matter.
I proceeded with his order and our conversation proceeded to advance to the point that he stated how impressed he was with my demeanor and the call flow. Once his order was a click away from being submitted, I said, “Well sir, do you really want to hear something I’ve written?” He confirmed so I read a snippet of something I happened to have saved to my work computer (we can do that at my job). It was a poem about poetry and people, art and artistry, and the artists who allow themselves to be consumed by the two. It was a poem written about my passion, my gift, my safe place. Once I finished the snippet, there was a pause and then he praised my work and even provided his interpretation of the poem. He agreed with a sentiment that I’d expressed through my art. He identified with a revelation that I’ve applied to my life. He praised the love I’ve put into my art, the dedication and pure stubbornness. And he appreciated that I’d shared this part of myself with him, a stranger from the south who had no clue who I was or what race or political party I claimed. Amazingly, I was able to share something so intimate with a stranger from the south whose aesthetic was suggested but unproven (as I’m sure mine may have been), whose life perspectives are unknown to me, whose convictions may very well antagonize my own. Yet, in that moment, we partook in the euphoria of artist and art appreciator, of unexpected connections, of living soul to living soul.
Then finally, the man said the thing that stunned and enamored me the most; he said, “Man I pray that the holy spirit continue to bless you.” All I could say was “Thank you, and I pray the same for you.” The strangest thing is that through our entire conversation, faith or religion never came up. However, the last line in the poem did draw from the scripture of creation—the notion of being created in God’s image (though this is not exclusive to Christianity). I did NOT preach to him though. I did NOT lace the poem with strong convictions and verbatim scriptures. The focus was literally speaking about poems and people and how people are artists. I just happened to use this one particular metaphor that spoke of an archetypal ideal of being created in a divine image. But he still did not know what God I was speaking of. He had no idea who God was to me no more than I could identify his perception of God in a line up. Yet, he prayed something that I resonated with. He reverenced something that I have felt evolve my mind and my life. He spoke of the God in me. He spoke of the Holy Spirit. His spirit identified the Holy Spirit within me which manifested within my art, my poem. My poem, my art, is the manifestation of my gift. My gift was given to me from God, the ultimate gift of the Holy Spirit: the gift of intimacy with God, Jehovah, The Lord of Lords. The fact that my art could inspire anyone to pray blessings in the name of the Holy Spirit to a complete stranger (me) whose simply placing an order for them is humbling and astonishing to me. My faith keeps growing. My faith in God. My faith in my gift. My faith in art and people. My faith in me to wield this gift with honor and respect. Today, as they say, was a good day.