(ink and watercolors on paper)
Here's a story for you that I was reminded of while creating this piece: a few years back, the LDS Church History Museum in Salt Lake City hosted an exhibit of Rembrandt's magnificent prints. I was at the museum to see another exhibit and didn't even know how close I was to such priceless treasures until a sad-looking little old man invited me into a section of the museum that had no traffic in it. I thought he just needed some company, until I realized what exactly he had to show in the small room. He said, "These are prints by Rembrandt," then proceeded to explain who Rembrandt was and why these prints were significant. I had to interrupt him to say that he needn't worry, I knew who Rembrandt was. He looked so relieved and was so excited to find someone who was interested in what he so desperately wanted to share with everyone. He gave me a small overview of the exhibit, then let me peruse freely.
Oh. My. Word. It was incredible! There were magnifying glasses provided so that patrons could enjoy the smallest of details in the prints. This was one of the few times in my life when I've spontaneously cried in an art exhibit because the art was so beautiful. If that man hadn't invited me into his small exhibit, I would have never known it was there and I would have missed an incredible opportunity. While I was there soaking up everything I possibly could, a few people wandered in and out, glancing at a print here or there, but were merely passing through to get to another room. The little old man would try and start a conversation with people passing through, but they always politely brushed him off or humored him without really listening to the good news he was sharing. No one seemed to realize what it was he truly wanted to share. I wanted to give all those silly people Shaken Patron Syndrome and ask, "Don't you know what this is? You will never get another opportunity like this in your whole life!"
After spending an hour or so in that room, and watching the curator try desperately to get people to understand the worth of his good news, I understood how deep the little old man's sadness really was. He wasn't trying to sell anyone anything or promote his own art. He only wanted to share something incredible, once-in-a-lifetime, even, and was gently rejected each time. The man never gave up trying to involve people the entire time I was savoring the art, and I'm certain he had been anxiously trying the whole time the exhibit was running. I greatly admired his tenacity and energy.
Although I can pick out several meaningful lessons from this experience, it mostly reminds me of the nature of sharing the gospel. You know the true worth of what you are sharing with others. Remember not to be disheartened when people reject your offer to participate in something magnificent and rare. Remember not to be discouraged when people politely entertain thoughts or half-heartedly go through the motions only to humor you. Remember that there is a possibility that any one of those people may actually know the value of what you have to offer...they just needed to be invited so that they knew such a wonderful thing was available to them.