A Week That Changed my Life.
by Paul Nixon
(McLeansville, North Carolina.)
Although it was many years ago, 2002 in fact, the experience I had is as much profound to me today as it was back then.
How does one begin to talk of an experience so unique and so surreal, it still leaves me inspired today?
was a car mechanic burned out from almost thirty years of work that for the most part was thankless and unfulfilled? Granted the salary was good, but I always felt that the business reputation screened me from my true value. There was always that suspicious notion from customers were they paying fairly for the work they were getting. I was always very sensitive to being as fair as I could be but I saw a side of the auto industry I held in disdain.
I remember one Friday afternoon while driving home after a terrible work week, I felt so depressed and lost that in desperation I turned my thoughts to my father who had passed away about a year prior, and I began pleading to him for help with a new skill that I then recently discovered I possessed. I could take a piece of wood and carve into a piece of art.
Tearfully I begged him from the bottom of my heart to help me expose this newfound skill. My plea was pure, emotional and flowed straight from my heart. It was a private moment of outpouring from a son to his beloved father who he missed very much.
That Sunday I felt compelled to go to a 10.00 o'clock mass at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Greensboro. My wife and I were parishioners there but I was not a regular church attendee. A guest speaker, an African American Bishop from I believe Louisiana, was that day celebrating the mass.
During the course of the service, traditional prayers were offered up for the deceased. It was my father’s name that was read that morning and the only name that was mentioned.
Outside on the steps after mass, I had the opportunity to greet this bishop, and told him that it was my father’s name that he read. With a surprised expression on his face as other parishioners were calling for his attention, he said to me "Your father’s name was chosen to be read at a later service, but I felt compelled to read it at this service.
I am so glad that you were there to appreciate that."
I came home thinking, “wow” I called out to my father for help only two days before and now his name was read out to a congregation in my presence. "What were the odds of that?" I thought.
The next morning and just 30 minutes after I got to work, Francesca my wife called me excitedly to tell me that she received a call from a woman from the Tomlinson Montessori High School in High Point, NC, who needed to talk with me regarding a sculpture.
That lunchtime with some free time I had the opportunity to respond when I learned that I was seriously considered to carve a 21-foot totem pole symbolizing peace.
The school had been recognized as an international peace site and I came highly recommended to create this peace pole. I was honored with the opportunity and preceded with some designs.
Two days later I received a call from my wife’s cousin who worked in advertising. He told me that a friend of his inquired If he knew of anyone who could create a bronze sculpture as a tribute to the Greensboro Fire Department in response to 9/11.
Knowing that I was skilled in wood carving he offered me the opportunity to reach out and follow up with his friend.
With new events now set in motion, the following Sunday, I returned to Our Lady of Grace church only to hear prayers again being offered up to my father and no one else. When I later questioned the office staff they had no explanation for me.
I saw this as a sign of his response to my plea and I felt with the difficult tasks presented that my father evidently felt I was up to the task. As nervous as I felt about such a risky undertaking it was the miracle of the week’s events that pressed me forward.
That was the day my life changed in a way I never dreamed possible. Today I am considered as a recognized artist/sculptor/photographer/painter and stained glass creations.