This piece was a long time in the making. The core of it has sat as a text on what is my now defunct cellphone since December 17, 2015. It is crude and ridiculous. Diamond sent it to me after we had helped her and her man for over a year in various ways. Among other things, it includes the first and second and only times I have been called a bitch. When I read it, I broke into uproarious laughter. I determined then and there that I had to somehow immortalize this. This was by far the most creative “thank you” I had ever received for helping someone in 30 years of serving among the poor! I showed Tony. He couldn’t believe it. Earlier that evening, we had delivered their belongings back to them that they had stored in our barn since August. Some people just have a hard time saying thank you.
On August 14 Diamond and Rashawn had dropped off five huge garbage bags of their belongings at our barn for safe-keeping and tried to pull a fast one by just assuming they could arrive at our house with their stuff, and move in. They had not asked. They did not even ask for the ride. They just slipped into the back seat of John’s car. John just assumed they must have worked something out with me. They sat silently all the way home from Phila. to our home in Souderton, figuring I wouldn’t have the nerve to turn them away. I was home, because I was ill. When I heard them in the backyard, I lost it.
Tony had never seen me or heard me in such a rage before. I just could not understand the sheer gall at the level of presumption and deception that it took to try to do that. It was not like we didn’t have history. At Memorial Day, she had tried to guilt me into paying for a month’s rent, even though the weather was OK, and we had no money. When I did not pay it, she accused me of driving drunk, (She had seen me have 3 beers all day, several hours before we left to bring them home.) You can read about our appeal and the story on The King’s Jubilee’s site.
Over the last two years, as I have had open heart surgery for my aortic valve replacement; and as our house was foreclosed on and auctioned by the sheriff; as I went through three infections in my chest incision and ended up allergic to a ninth antibiotic; almost all of the old supporters and volunteers were silent, invisible, evaporated. with a few notable exceptions. Then I would refer to this glorious text message and have a good laugh. Diamond had really put her heart into it!
We have since returned their things to them. When our team was serving food in the park, Tony saw them. They were too embarrassed to come over for food. He called me. I told him to take food to them. He did, and gave them my love.
On the left side of the painting I wrote, “At least she said something. Read Revelations 3:16-18. It’s more than I can say for most of the church people in my life.”
Revelation 3:16-18 So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
So the painting was done in layers. It is the logo of The King’s Jubilee in subdued tones on a 24″ square canvas. Painted over that is the QR Code for the text that Diamond sent me on December 17, 2015. That way, anyone with a smart phone with a QR Code app can read it, but it is not visible to casual observers or children. I thought this was a much better solution than counted cross-stitch. I discussed it with my therapist today. She and I had a good laugh. I said, “When I post this, the shit is probably going to hit the fan.” She said, “So what! That is what good art is supposed to do. It provokes a response.”
I asked her if she didn’t think I was totally off my nut for preserving this text in this way and doing this. She told me, no, quite the contrary. I had taken this ridiculous attack, seen it for what it was, and now turned it into something beautiful.
Painting is 24″ x 24″ acrylic on stretched canvas.
Price: $400 plus postage
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