This is the fourth Saturday in a row (I think) that I haven’t blogged about my “Amazing Garage Sale Finds, which means as many weeks of not going to garage sales. This is because it’s volleyball season, and every Saturday morning we’re focused on getting to the game. I practically shed tears on the way to the game today, as we passed numerous neon-colored garage sale signs. Everyone was checking on me to make sure I was OK. This brings me to my next point: Jesus watches volleyball.
Today, I sat in the bleachers sending negative energy to the little girls on the opposing team. “Miss the ball-miss the ball,” I’d whisper. “Hit it out of bounds…out of bounds.” Just before a girl on the opposing team got up to serve I’d do one of two things: 1) Yell, “GO (insert name of our team’s mascot)!!!!! WOOO HOOO!” or 2) take little Bridgy’s candy away so she’d cry and interrupt the server’s concentration.
Then, it happened. Someone hit the ball so high it hit the ceiling and as it fell to the floor my eyes locked with the beloved spiritual icon, the Crucifix, hanging on the wall above the net. It was positioned right between the American flag and the Oklahoma flag. (Did you know – Jesus is an Okie?) So, He’d been watching the game the whole time. And, not just watching the game. He was watching funny little me. ME. Jen drinking Coke in the gym even though the sign said, “No drinks in the gym.” (Pretended not to see as a I breezed right by.) ME – sending negative thoughts to innocent little girls: “Lose! Lose! Lose! Loserrrrrrrrrr!”
I stepped out of the gym to take five minutes to pee and repent. I passed an amazing painting of a Renaissance-looking Jesus. (Did you know – Jesus is French? Italian, too.) He was holding a sweet baby to His cheek. (Oh, this Protestant doth love Catholic art.) And, I thought about all the little children – girls in modest plaid jumpers and boys in nerdy slacks – passing pictures and icons of Jesus every day. And, my deepest prayer for them all, including my own girl (lamenting over her ugly plaid uniform), is that they will learn sooner not later how much Jesus longs to take them to His cheek and love them, too.
Robert Lamell, Painter
The last time I was at this Catholic school was in 2003. I attended a funeral in the adjacent parish for Robert Lamell. I couldn’t help but think of him today, and poked around to see if I could spot any of his paintings. Lamell was born in 1913 in Transylvania, and married the daughter of an Austrian governor. Long story about how he came to Oklahoma. Suffice to say, he was a successful architect and a Sunday painter who began to paint full time after retirement. He became quite renowned in Oklahoma and throughout the Southwest. I came to know him during the years I worked as PR Director for the Oklahoma Arts Council. He became my friend and I spent several hours in his studio admiring his paintings and listening to him play his violin – something he learned to do after the age of 70. His paintings were so colorful and glorious. They were happy paintings and they inspired me so much to use color throughout my home.
A few months before he died at the age of 90, he called me on the phone and asked me to come to his house. I didn’t know it then, but he had been diagnosed with cancer. When I arrived, he gave me the painting I always admired the most, a watercolor of horses titled “Untamed” or “Born to be Free.”