Almost every spring since 2006 I have painted in the “Paint Historic Waxahachie” plein air competition and sale. I have painted many, many paintings in the downtown Waxahachie area, and sometimes it gets difficult to motivate myself to create another one.
So, when the Ellis County Art Association, who sponsors and organizes the event, opened the early weeks of the competition to include not only the Downtown area of Waxahachie, but all that lies within the boundaries of Ellis County, I was much pleased. That addition provided some additional subject matter – Ellis County has many rural settings and some small towns within its border.
Italy, Texas is one of those unique small towns in Ellis county. It was easy for Italy to become my favorite location to paint during the early weeks of the competition. I loved the quiet streets, the old architecture and the friendly folks who call it home.
One place that I painted several times had an old 1949 Chevy truck resting under a drive thru portico, which was attached to an old tin topped building. Both truck and building had seen many years under the Texas sun.
As I alluded to above, one of the interesting benefits related to painting in Italy are the lovely, friendly people, especially those who are native to “The Biggest Little Town in Texas”, as proclaimed on Italy’s web site. While painting on the several occasions I was there, I learned much about the History and people of Italy.
One of my tutors in the story’s and facts of Italy was Sandy. She came by one afternoon to check out the painting I was working on and I ask her if I could shoot a photo of her. She agreed and I snapped one with my cell phone. Later back in the studio I composed an image to use for reference for a pastel drawing, the main subject being Sandy, with the old building and truck in the background.
But, let me back up to our visit. She told me about the business that once occupied the building I was painting, when it was there, other things that were near by. She told me that Italy was the hometown of the mother of Dale Evans, wife of Roy Rogers. If you are under 30 you probably have no clue who these folks are, but once….
She also told me of a time Roy Rogers was standing out in front of the Post Office when she was in High School. Mistaking him for a vagrant or the like, she said didn’t treat him too well… Her eyes light up when she tells the story.
Sandy has seen 80 summers there in Italy, Texas. A beautiful reminder that our life is a vapor. Time stops for no one.
When I meet people like Sandy, people who do most of the living and dying and working in this diverse nation, I’m reminded of my own days, how they have so quickly gone by; days that now lie still in the past, unmovable as eternity draws nearer and nearer.
David said this in Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”
There it is…David, described as a man after God’s own heart, is asking for God to TEACH him to grab ahold of the reality of the shortness of this life. Why? Another version says it this way: “That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” We often prepare for the future when it comes to money, retirement and the temporal things around us. But the most important thing is to prepare for the ultimate, “big picture” future…eternity.
It is a good practice to look ahead and see what may lie ahead, and then go to the One who created us and ask for His wisdom. Remember, the entirety of the Bible is to prepare us for the future. In its pages we can know how to “number our days”.
Proverbs 1:7 says to “Fear the LORD” is a great place to start. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Back to Psalm 90, a little further down in verse 14 it goes on to say… “Satisfy us each morning with Your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.”
I am grateful that as the years roll on, unstoppable, unwavering in their march for eternity, that I have a redeemer, a savior, one who gives wisdom for these crazy days we are in. He gives peace in the “madness”. His peace comes through faith in Christ.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:8, 9, 10
God is truly an awesome God. He loves us. And because God is Holy, His love, demonstrated in Christ, points us to real hope for the future. Isaiah 46:4 says “I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” SM
Soli Deo gloria