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Two Women, Two Events

I’m attending two events on Cypress Street in Abilene, Texas this weekend, and they involve the creative work of the two most intriguing women I know. These ladies are like the prisms that hang in my kitchen and classroom windows; multi-faceted, refracting the light of the world around them, adding color and interest to their surroundings.

The first event is an gallery show of the photography of Eleanor Hamby at the Center for Contemporary Arts . Ellie is the closest thing to SuperWoman I’ve ever encountered. The privilege of working closely with her as a co-director of Zambia Medical Mission has allowed me an up-close and personal view of her talents and endless energy. Whether she is braving near-hurricane force winds on a ship in waters near the Antarctic, or sleeping with in a Bedoin tent, Ellie is always ready to capture images of the lives of the people she encounters on her journeys.

If you don’t find yourself on Cypress Street in Abilene on Friday night you should definitely check out Ellie’s website. Her photography is just one facet of Ellie’s fascinating life, and you will enjoy a getting a glimpse of the world through her lens.

The second event, just a few doors down at the beautiful, historic Paramount Theater is the showing of the film NAWONA: The Way You See. The film is just one part of an evening of celebration of the way the lives of many people in the faraway country of Zambia have been touched by the generosity of many caring people. The film maker is my daughter, Jessalyn, and she has been fascinating me with her unique and creative outlook on the world since the day she was born.

I haven’t seen the completed film, but long ago I learned that when she sets out to create something the end product will be something very different and far superior to anything I might have imagined.

I first became acutely aware of this fact the summer after Jessalyn finished fourth grade. We were planning our second trip to Zambia, and were frustrated with teaching materials that depicted Bible characters as fair-skinned, blonde-headed characters that did not resemble the boys and girls that would be hearing our stories, so we decided we needed to create our own. Time was running short, and at my urging Jessalyn sat down on the floor of her bedroom and began to work. As I watched her begin cutting construction paper into pieces I was dismayed by what appeared to me to be a haphazard way to approach the task. I expected her to first plan, then sketch her ideas. I was certain that her sit-down-and-cut-out-some-paper approach was not going to result in anything we could use. I left her to her random cutting and went on with the business of making another plan.

Much to my surprise, before long she had produced several simple construction paper posters that clearly and simply illustrated the stories we were planning to teach. The figure of a dark-skinned Jesus in a boat with a single tear on his cheek perfectly expressed the sorrow the Savior felt at the news of the death of his friend John the Baptist. What seemed like a random cutting session with the scissors had produced something completely unexpected and wonderful.

Jessalyn continues to amaze me, even if she no longer surprises me when she creates something wonderful. I expect Saturday night will follow that pattern.

I am grateful for all the women that enrich my life, particularly these two that have made such and impact on the way I see the world.

One Comment

  1. Mom
    Posted 16 Sep ’11 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    These women are two of my heroes also.

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