This day has been a long time coming. I guess you could say it's been longer than eight years in coming, but the end was nowhere in sight at the beginning. Isn't that the way it goes? When we begin a new adventure, we rarely know (or at least I don't) how it will unfold, where it will take us, and at what point we will realize the road has reached its end.
Well, that point is now, it seems. Which means it's time to tell you a story.
The Bus Barn
Once upon a time, a somewhat unlikely crew of Master's artists hopped on a bus and rode along the information superhighway in happy companionship. The roads were relatively empty back then -- of buses like theirs anyway. There were already plenty of cars and motorcycles around, but this bunch on the bus had something a bit different to offer. And people seemed to like it.
Some of the crew rode for a season until they recognized their various stops, then bid the others a fond farewell, off to embark on other journeys. The remaining artists watched them go with mixed emotions, glad with them for new opportunities, yet missing the sound of their voices. But the bus never emptied. New artists hopped aboard, and the conversation remained lively.
Then an interesting thing happened. More and more buses merged onto the highway. Some were bigger and shinier than theirs. Others were plastered with cutting-edge advertisements. And a whole bunch of others looked similar to theirs, so much so that they began to feel a bit lost in the crowd. The Master's artists became one bus among many.
Occasionally they tossed around the idea of exiting the highway altogether, but there were always a few who still wanted to ride -- who loved this bus for the ground already covered, the current journey, and the delightful company, dwindling in number though they might be. Even with the proliferation of traffic on the highway, no other voices seemed to be singing the exact same song with the same sweet, harmonious tension.
But no bus can run forever. And even those who loved this one best, finally had to agree that it was time to let the old girl retire. These tires had bravely borne the heat of highway friction, and this engine had labored faithfully up hill and down. She'd done her job, and the time had come to steer her into the cool shade of the bus barn, give her one last loving glance (and maybe even a kiss on the nose when no one was looking), and walk away for good.
You may think this is a sad story, but it isn't. Not really. Because all those artists? They're still out there, engaged in this fascinating journey to and through and over and around the intersection of faith and art. The destination remains the same. Even the companionship remains. But the bus?
She's reached the end of her road. She's parked in the bus barn, filled with happy memories, an abiding testimony to what many voices can do when they share a single purpose. And the grateful artists who enjoyed her warm and welcoming space?
They will never forget her.
Jeanne Damoff will miss The Master's Artist, and she wants to thank everyone who has added their voices to the conversation here through the years, becoming part of our song. Feel free to slip back in whenever you want to wander among the archives and reminisce. Love you all. This has been a fun ride, hasn't it?