This past February, North Carolina said goodbye to a longtime member of the US House of Representatives, Walter Jones. I had the honor of meeting Congressman Jones in the Capitol when I was 16 years old after one of my art projects won Congressional Art Competition for his district! My mom and I made the drive up to Washington, DC, to meet Congressman Jones who gave us an office tour and took us to see where my art was on display in the Capitol. I remember being quite nervous about meeting him, but he was very kind. He asked informed questions about how I composed my mixed media piece and what I might do in the future with my art abilities. Before we left, he gifted me with one of my favorite treasures to this very day: a round silver box with the Congressional Seal engraved on the lid.
It was a landmark moment in my life, more so than I even realized at the time. My family had walked through a painful season with a divorce followed by my grandparents being hit head-on by a drunk driver in an accident that took the life of my grandmother (Mema, Vileigh Narron). The award was something that encouraged me to trust that the Lord had a plan for my life during a hard time. In some ways, that meeting was even prophetic!
When I was in second grade, I remember finding a book in my grandparents closet that had a photo of the US Capitol on the cover. Curious about the building, I found some paper and hid away, drawing. My Mema, upon finding me hard at work, looked at my drawing and exclaimed: “You might be an architect.” She took the drawing around the house to show the extended family and then hung it on her refrigerator, where it stayed for a number of years. That was the first time I understood that I had a natural ability to draw, and not quite 10 years later, I stood in that very building that I that I had worked on so intently as a child, viewing another piece that had won an award!
Meeting Congressman Jones, not only shaped my identity as an artist, but it also sowed a great love for government into my heart. I even thought I might take his seat one day! I did end up becoming an architect but I don’t know that I’ll ever serve in the US government now that I’m building a home in Israel as a dual citizen. I do, however, enjoy exercising that particular interest by keeping all of you updated on current events in Israel through this column! Congressman Jones’ record on Israel was fairly controversial for a Republican (and I may have written him at least once!) but he certainly played a role how the Lord has formed the calling on my life. I am honored to have met him and grateful for his years of service in my beloved home state. May his memory be a blessing.