The Cheer of Free Art

Life hasn’t exactly been what we hoped for the past couple of months. When we were stranded in Ogden, Utah, for two weeks in September while my father-in-law was in the hospital, I felt like I was traveling through a long dark tunnel where the light at the end was always out of my reach.

But once we were able to hit the road, things started to look up. We desperately wanted to get home, so, traveling in our gently used RV, we hit the road as the sun set and drove through the night over the mountain pass just to get out of Utah, finally, and into another state, Wyoming.

It really is true that travelers park at Walmart to sleep. At three in the morning, we pulled into the parking lot between another RV and a big rig for what was left of the night.

The entire experience drained me of energy, joy and hope. Even though I still trusted God, my emotions were harsh and unpredictable with the dark hole of depression threatening to swallow me. But God brought some cheer to my drear when we rolled into an RV park in Kearney, Nebraska.

I was drawn to the park’s little lending library. Maybe I could get lost in choosing a new book to read and if I took one, I’d send them one when I returned home. Instead of picking out a book, what I found was someone’s artwork, neatly packaged in a Ziplock baggie.

I thought it odd to have art mixed in with books until I turned it over to read the backside.

I’d never heard of such a thing as “free art,” but I like the thought behind it. Under normal circumstances, I would not take the art but leave it for someone else more needy. But I truly needed it. It brought me some joy in my darkness. A brighter light in my tunnel. When I look at the art, I am reminded that a stranger was thoughtful enough to bring me kindness when I needed it most.

By the way, there’s a public Facebook Community called Abandoned Art, if you’d like to see examples of free art that people create and find.

To finish the story and get some closure for me, I mailed copies of all my books to the RV hosts with a thank you. I may never meet the person who left the happy little hand-painted picture of birdhouses, but I will never forget how their kindness brought me hope. For that, I am forever grateful.

6 responses to “The Cheer of Free Art”

  1. What a sweet story of God’s faithfulness! I call these experiences, “Kisses from God.”

  2. Ellen Betts says:

    Brought tears. What a wonderful thing to happen just when you needed it. A God wink fir you.

  3. Maria Matson says:

    Thank you for sharing this information and inspiring story.

  4. Shelly Poliak says:

    Christy, this was yours to find and that is why you found it…when you needed it. Post a picture of it on their website because the artist wants to know that it was found and how much it meant. I belong to a similar group and found a Halloween rock, my husband told me to put it back, and I did, but went back and got it because it was mine to find when I needed it just before the Anniversary of Natasha’s passing.

  5. Donna Jones says:

    That’s so cool! I may leave a few pieces of art around for someone to find!

  6. Zoe says:

    Hi Christy, I’m Ann’s sister and just wanted to say hi. Per your free art story, we had an event in the small town I live in that was similar and painted rocks were hidden all around town. I still treasure mine:)

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