I’m just finishing up a tour to Florida. I was gone for 10 days and I learned a few things that I thought might be helpful to you all.
1. The best laid plans don’t always work.
I tried to work out quite a few more presentations than the six I ended up doing. It looked like these things were going to come through but for one reason or another they fell through.
One thing I learned from this is when your ministry is dependent on churches, the week before Easter is not always the best time. A few of the places said they simply had too much going.
2. Sometimes your plans aren’t the best.
The truth is after four presentations in two days and two ten hour days of driving, I would not have been anywhere near my best, so perhaps having a few less presentations was better.
3. Touring the way I do it is difficult.
In previous years, when I would travel this long, I would fly, limiting my painting to small canvasses on a small portable easel. This time I felt like I wanted to do my larger presentations. This meant I had to drive a van load of equipment with me. Financially fuel is less expensive than flying but the time more than balances the costs. In the ideal world, having someone with me to help with all the work and maybe even collaborate on the presentations would be really great. Which brings us to…
4. Traveling alone is tough.
I was really grateful for the friends I had to spend time with at my various stops and really valued the conversations we had along the way. The volume of alone time I had on this trip showed me even more clearly that I am a pretty “social animal.”
5. Bringing me in is an act of faith.
The people who give us the opportunity to present our work are taking a risk. Their credibility is at least partially on the line and so we need to bring our best every time.
6. Character is revealed in the strangest ways.
I must confess, toward the end of both of my ten hour driving days, I ended up in major traffic jams. The combination of stress and exhaustion showed me that there are still some areas of my character that still need work.
7. I no longer value all forms of creativity.
One thing I noticed in the traffic mayhem was some people begin to drive “creatively.” It turns out having been cooped up in traffic too long gets people to try things no person should try. I saw several people trying to make radical moves that almost caused accidents, which would have made things so much worse. Also, I must confess there was a great temptation to ram all the people that tried to make a fourth lane by driving past all the people who were waiting in line, but that goes to number 4.
8. Loving what you do is not as good as being with who you love.
I really love what I do. It is truly my call and it was really exciting, but about two days in, I was already missing my family and Sunday night when I knew my family was together with my grandson, it made it really difficult. I love my work, but I love my family more. We have to keep balance and keep our priorities straight.