Which story do I tell today?
Do I choose from the tragedies and tell about the traffic safety awareness guy who lost his government job because of quake-related budget cuts, and lost his work buddy who ducked out of work and went to a gift shop on the coast just before the wave? The somber silence when he said "I stayed at work and didn't go with him"?
Do I choose from the smiles and tell about the mom who stopped by for relief goods with her three-year-old boy after picking him up from kindergarten, and her sheer enjoyment of watching him play with an American volunteer's kids? For hours?
Do I highlight a volunteer and tell about the prayer artist who drew prayer pictures all day for people at the assistance center cafe and during a barbecue supper at an evacuation center? How each recipient brightened a couple notches when they received them?
How about the most memorable evacuee of the day? She started rather brusquely, informing the artist that she wanted two pictures done for her grandkids, a three-year-old girl and a 7th-grade boy. He obliged graciously. Each picture was captioned "God loves you," but in kid-speak: "God likes you VERY much!"
She started to soften when the little one's picture turned out to look quite a bit like her granddaughter. I went into the shelter to get her when he had finished the pictures, so she could see them. Grandma approved.
The artist moved on to his next picture.
Then Grandma saw something and suddenly took a couple of steps backward in sheer surprise, stared at the artist for a few seconds, and stage-whispered to me: "Is he pr... praying??" I said "Yes, he prays when he draws each picture. Each child is prayed for." "Oh?" She went back into the shelter to wait while the pictures dried. She looked a bit dazed.
When I took the pictures to her a few minutes later, she bowed deeply, put her palms together, and took the pictures with both hands, gently and reverently, telling her friend "The artist prayed."
Now the pictures were holy and precious. Wish I could be there when she gives them to her grandbabies.
I'll tell you one thing. They'll know they were prayed for.