Last week, I took my car to Jiffy Lube and had about a 40 minute wait while my car got an oil change.
I used to actually enjoy those waits because I knew I would have uninterrupted time I could get stuff done on my computer. Now I enjoy them because I know as long as I have a sketchbook and a pen, I’ll be content.
I was sitting there working on some illustrations for An Illustrated Advent (children’s ministry resource for Advent), and an Hispanic man in his 50’s looked over at me, looked at my drawings, and then asked, “So – are you an artist?”
I’m still getting used to being asked that question. Part of me wants to say, “Why yes. Yes I am.” Another part of me is inclined to say, “Well, actually. I’m a pastor, and…well…you know, I do a little drawing on the side.” That part of me still struggles with imposter syndrome. That part of me likes to say, “Really? You think you’re an artist? Dude. You’ve been drawing for just a little while. You still suck at drawing hands and profiles of people.”
It’s quite easy to listen to that voice. Much like the annoying imp of OCD, who likes to pop up every now and then and trick you into thinking things that aren’t true, this imp likes to make you question your calling and passion.
While particularly prevalent with entrepreneurs and people trying creative new ventures, this imp also creeps up on everyone from time to time.
“What? You think you can hack this being a pastor thing? You know you don’t really know what you’re doing, right? Who are you to think you can offer someone older than you pastoral care?”
“You know you’re really too young to be taken seriously in this field, right?”
On this specific occasion at Jiffy Lube, I was able to quiet the imp and answer, “Yes. I am an artist.”
We started talking and he told me he always wanted to be an artist. He used to draw nonstop as a kid, and he loved drawing people. He also wanted to become a caricature artist. But his parents told him there was no money in that, and he wouldn’t be able to be successful. He listened to their advice, and now he runs a successful pool maintenance business in the North Shore.
Now there’s nothing wrong with running a successful pool maintenance business, but I could see the look in his eyes when he was remembering drawing as a kid, and that longing to be able to pursue his passion.
I suggested that he just start drawing again for fun and see where it goes. He probably isn’t going to quit his business, but maybe it could develop into a fun hobby for him.
Once people find out you’re a pastor, you often start hearing their stories, “I used to go to church, but haven’t been in awhile…” and sometimes you can have some meaningful conversations. But it was fun to have one of those conversations because I am an artist, and so is he, and we could connect on that level.