Unexpected Inspiration

As I stood at the art supply checkout counter, a man stepped up to the next counter. I glanced up and immediately recognized him. “Hi!” I exclaimed in surprise and proceeded to reintroduce myself and tell him how we had met several years before.

I had been drawing designs that numerous people said looked like they could be on dresses, scarves, sheets and other types of cloth. I happened to show my drawings to one of my coaching clients who was an artist. When she made the same comment, I said I didn’t know what to do about it. She suggested I contact a former professor of hers who taught at the Kansas City Art Institute in the fiber department and gave me his name and phone number. I was thrilled that I had someone knowledgeable to talk with!<!–more–>

Very soon after I called. I told him who I was, who referred me, and why I wanted to meet with him. While not sure that he could help me, he agreed to meet. I showed him my drawing pads and merely wanted feedback. Being an art teacher, when he explained something he began drawing to illustrate his point. In the middle of a sentence, he paused, held up his colored pencil, smiled and said, “I just love colored pencils!” and proceeded to finish his thought. I looked at him in disbelief. Colored pencils?? I had used them as a child and didn’t like them. Why did he love them? I was intrigued.

I went to an art supply store and talked with the sales person about what kind of colored pencils to get. Then I took them home and began playing around with them. These artist quality pencils were nothing like the children’s colored pencils I had used in art classes. I fell in love with them, becoming a color pencil artist for the next twenty years! The art professor had no idea that he’d been a catalyst for me to find a completely new art medium.

And now he was standing next to me at the counter. I told him the story and how he’d unexpectedly inspired me. It was great! How often do we have a chance to actually tell the people who have made an impact on our lives, especially strangers, that they’ve made a difference? He was delighted to hear my story. I was delighted to tell him.

While his inspiration and my opportunity to tell him about it weren’t a holiday gift, it certainly felt like it.

Is there someone completely unexpected who made a difference in your life? Have you let them know? Have you been told that you were that person for someone else? One thing I find to be true is: You never know the difference you’ve made in another person’s life.

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