During my third semester, I never thought I’d struggle with my art class. My illustration professor had us split our portfolio collection up into three ‘segments’: career wear, street wear, and couture. I wasn’t sure if I completely understood my collection.
All I knew is that I wanted to do something alternative—something dark and grungy. Finally, I settled on a short story I’d written about an angel who had her wings torn out (later, I would utilize this short story in my novel). With her wings torn out, and her broken body exposed, she turned to her lover to help her, but he couldn’t.
He didn’t know what to do. I incorporated this story in my collection. A woman who was broken, bleeding, and bare. Then I began to design my collection around that. I utilized Ezekiel 16:1-14 to tell the story of a woman who was despised, unwanted, rejected, and abused. She was a young girl, cast aside on the streets, left naked to face destruction. But God saw her cast to the side of the street.
He saw her struggling in her blood and He said to her “live!” and indeed she did. She began to thrive, but she was still exposed and naked. And when He passed by her again, he saw that she was mature and now ready to experience intimate love. And God took His cloak and covered her and showed her the love and mercy she deserved. He married her and then gave all His wealth to her.
But as the rest of the story continues, she let Him down. She began to sell herself, giving away all of her Husband’s possessions to the very men who abused her, cast her aside, and rejected her. And God was displeased with it.
Of course, anyone who reads the story would know that it is an illustrative between God and Israel, but it is something that can be applied to our individual lives. So, I used it. I realized that as a woman I constantly face rejection, abuse, hatred, and objectification from men. They don’t care about me or how I feel. They only want to use me and abuse me.
I dedicated the collection to women who felt like that at some point in their lives. These women are broken, bleeding, and bare. But commands us to live. He cleans us up of our blood and heals our wounds, then covers us with His love and grace. We begin to thrive and all He has He gives to us. We should let the story end like this.
We shouldn’t give away what God has given us to the very people who caused our pain. Instead, we should give all we have to the one who heals us and delivers us.
At the time when I made this collection, I didn’t understand the components of it. But now I do. This collection was just another story to add to the final story I was about to share. I just didn’t know it at the time.
Someone Covers You
After the third semester was over, I wanted to head back home to Tortola. It would be my first Christmas there since Hurricane Irma and I really wanted to visit my family. I especially wanted to go to church because there would be Christmas Sunday and I didn’t want to miss it.
The excitement was getting to me. I couldn’t wait to pack. I’d already booked my flight. Gathering my things, I woke up extremely early with the plans to catch the E train to Sutphin Boulevard to get the AirTrain. When I arrived at the airport, there was a hold up in the line, but I finally I arrived at the counter to check in by baggage.
“Check in closed,” the woman at the counter said. I couldn’t believe it. She directed me to another counter reschedule my flight. With tears in my eyes, I went. I really wanted to see my family.
As I approached the counter, I asked for the next flight out. The next flight was tomorrow, but the only seats left were in first class and it would cost me eight hundred dollars more. I couldn’t pay for that. I had exactly that amount in my bank account and my mother was saving that up to pay for the three thousand extra I would have to pay the school after the scholarship was paid.
But I really wanted to make it home before Sunday.
“Go ahead and pay for it,” the Spirit told me. But I questioned the voice inside my head. “Go ahead and pay for it. You want to go to church, so pay for it. Don’t worry about the rest. Just remember, one day you’ll only be flying first class. I’m giving this experience as a gift to you. You worked hard and you deserve it.”
But still, I couldn’t bring myself to. With tears running down my cheeks, I transferred the last money, and purchased the first-class ticket. I called my uncle to pick me up since he lived near to the airport, then called my mother about it.
She was understandably frustrated. “You should have waited,” she said. “You should have waited to see if something was flying out Sunday. We would miss church but that’s okay.”
I didn’t know how to tell her I did it all because I didn’t want to miss church. I didn’t want to tell her that something deep inside of me persuaded me to do this. And I followed that little voice.
Finally, when I arrived to Tortola, my mother told me she didn’t know how she would pay for the rest of the school fees. It was fifteen thousand dollars in total and the scholarship only covered twelve thousand dollars. It meant I would have to somehow find an additional three thousand, and the eight hundred dollars we had was the only thing my mother could give me towards the tuition.
I tried not to think about it for the rest of the Christmas holiday. That Sunday, we went to church (they usually have a Christmas lunch around this time), and later tried not to think about the money. But one day, out of the clear blue, something told me to check my school account. So, I did.
And you wouldn’t believe what I saw.
The school had taken off $4,890 off my fees. Now, in my Freshman year, due to Hurricane Irma, I was eligible to pay the instate tuition for that year, but the catch was I had to get a consent form signed by a notary public before they released the money.
In any case, I thought it was only for the year. I didn’t think they’d continue with it. But here it was, they’d taken the money off my account. Instead of the three thousand I would normally owe, I only owed a little under a hundred bucks.
I was so happy when I saw this. Then I remembered the promise God gave me. Flying first class was His gift to me. He told me not to worry, one day I’ll be flying first class.