It first started with this man, Don. He rides his motorcycle nine months out of the year and is one of the happiest people I've had the pleasure of meeting.
I didn't have to ask him much. He's the type of guy that's initially shy, but when you ask the right question(s), he'll open up immediately. I heard story after story of his countless motorcycle trips, meeting new people on each route, running into familiar bikers at rallies and random diners in Texas.
Don rides nine months out of the year. During the three months he's home, he gets his affairs in order - pays his bills, completes his yearly tax forms, sees family and friends - and then he's off again. And despite the constant moving, he doesn't feel lonely.
I was late to work that day - happily so. But since Don, I've run into people that have their passions and are pursuing them in some form or other, with or without full-time jobs.
And here I am, struggling to get out of bed each morning, my eyes feel as though weights, or glass jars are pressed around them, and I sit at my desk, dependent on my cup of coffee, wondering why I'm so unhappy in a position my friends tell me is great. In fact, sometimes I sense envy.
And I don't get it.
I'm still waiting for Conde Naste to call me and say, "We love your work, come join our team at Travel Magazine. We'll send you places." Or some humanitarian organization will email me saying, "We see you love to capture the essence of a person as much as we do. Come be our photographer."
But then today, a guy like Fred, an 80 or 90-something piano tuner - easily one of my top 10 favorite people - comes in and he lets me take a picture of him working. People like Fred, like Don, they brighten my day. They remind me why I pursue any sort of creative endeavor at all.
This is not to say that I've forgotten the ultimate purpose of creating, which is to glorify my Creator - Jesus Christ. It is to say that Fred and Don and everyone else that comes along, remind me. They are the Creator's creations as well, and physical, tangible reminders of the purpose God gives us - gives me - to live, to breathe, to create.
I'll still wake up feeling the pressured rings around my eyes - or maybe, after five attempts over the years I should just stop trying to use an eye cream. And I'll still be dependent on coffee. And I'll still have days when I'm angry about where I am and where I'm not. Cue Fred. Cue Don. Cue someone else that will enter into my day and give me a gentle slap on the face.
Because I can still be creative and creating no matter what my full-time job is or where I live.