This man -- Von Paul -- finished his education after the eighth grade. He told us he had to begin work, so he became a plumber. After many years, he was told that he was too old and too slow. He was fired. One day his granddaughter came home from school with a drawing of a mandala. "You can make these," she told her grandfather. The old man took the child seriously and spent the next four years of his life creating thousands of sacred mandalas, spending ten hours a day, each and every day. One night his girlfriend was drawing over his work. "What are you doing?" he asked her. "This is not you," she replied, staring back at him. He was not angry with her, realizing that she was right. "I loved her," he said. "I had been creating beautiful things because people liked them." She had inspired Von Paul to start something new.
I looked at his work. "But why these drawings?" I asked him. "They are exciting," he replied, flipping a pen in the air. "And they are not planned." Von Paul gifted my friend and I one of his drawings -- one that I had commented on for the jester shapes inside. Before giving us the gift, Von Paul wrote on the back, "To Jess an Hunter Spinning thru the Universe.... Balancing on a ball of Mud.... Trying to find our Way... Never in the same Place Twice.... Von Paul 2014." Von Paul has also been 'saved' 17 times. "A couple years ago, I would go to a different church every Sunday," he said, laughing. "Being saved is fun. It makes everyone happy." And that may have been the best thing I ever heard, and perhaps his being saved is a blessing for all of us, a gentle reminder that everything we encounter is a possibility, that we must look at life in a new way.