Featured Artists: Richard Seldomridge (photos), Elizabeth Charlotte Grant (writing)
Genres of Art: Photography and Creative-Nonfiction
All these photos were taken by a friend of ours, Richard Seldomridge of Wapangy Imaging. Check out his stuff!
And I, Liz, mentioned in the last post that probably some of the first posts we’d put up on here would be “our story”– our story of meeting, dating, and falling in love. Well, here it is. I’m taking this from my other website, so it may be familiar to some readers. As I’ve said before, this is a barely edited version of what happened– the point in me writing this was simply to get it all down on paper (so to speak).
More parts are coming… 🙂
A Meeting: Part 1
Where do you begin to tell a love story? Does it start on the day that you meet him or the day that he tells you he loves you, or does it begin much earlier, before either of you were born, with your parents and their parents, or even earlier, at the beginning of the world, when molecules were racing around and life was first created?
Jeremiah Edward Grant and I, Elizabeth Charlotte Graves, met in January 2009. I wish I could recall the day offhand, but of course, I can’t. It seems we always forget the days that are most important, because we never knew they were so important at the time. Jeremy was born in 1985; I was born in 1987. I was born in Illinois; he was born in California. He moved to Colorado when he was six, only thirty minutes away from where my aunt and uncle lived—they got married four blocks away from where his parents bought a house, and for years, my uncle worked at the MCI building near Garden of the Gods, only two blocks away from the house where Jeremy grew up.
Jeremy loved to draw, and his mother, noticing it, encouraged him. She homeschooled him, but had artists friends from church tutor Jeremy in art. By high school he was taking advanced classes and winning awards. He illustrated an entire series of Sunday school curriculum for Summit Ministries. He won a local art show.
My parents noticed that I loved stories and read to me when I was young. In elementary school, I wrote stories (which I also illustrated, of course). In my second grade report card, my teacher told my parents that I was an excellent story-teller and that I had a wild imagination. By high school, my father, who was educated in journalism himself, was teaching me that editing was a part of writing. I still remember the day when he read one of my papers during my sophomore year and told me he wouldn’t change a thing.
Jeremy went to a college in Arkansas; I went to a college in Illinois. My grandmother started pestering me to do a program called “The Institute” at Focus on the Family. The pressure increased around the end of my freshman year. She wanted me to apply for the fall of my sophomore year (2007). I refused. That fall of 2007, Jeremy attended the Institute after he’d graduated from college.
During the summer in between my junior and senior years in college, I went on a school trip to England. We studied literature at Oxford, hiked in the Lake District, and visited art museums in London. That summer (or was it the summer before?), Jeremy also went on a school trip. He visited London and France, studying art and culture and eating lots of European cuisine.
We never met. In spite of all these funny coincides, we never met– not until the January after I finished college. My last semester had been hard, the hardest one yet, and instead of following through on my original plans to stay around the Chicago area, I felt that God was opening a door to come to Colorado Springs. My aunt emailed me and said, “Liz, I know you already have a Plan A, but in case you need a plan B, you can come live with me and your Uncle Ron for free out here. We’ll feed you and you can work with me at Goodwill.” I told her that no, thanks, I already had my life figured out. And then two weeks later, I emailed her back to see if the offer still stood—it did.
Three weeks after I’d taken my last exam, I drove halfway across the country to go live in their basement. I knew only three people in Colorado Springs: my aunt (my mother’s twin), my uncle, and my grandmother. I cried on the way to Colorado, because I knew that my life would change forever. And it did.
Meanwhile, Jeremy had graduated from college, had finished his time at the Focus on the Family Institute, and was looking for graphic design jobs. He started pursuing a job working as a graphic designer for a ministry in England. But as the process stretched out for months, he started to realize that he really wanted to stay in Colorado Springs to connect to his church. “Sorry,” he told them. “I’m not interested anymore.” And he planted his feet in Colorado Springs.
However, I came to Colorado Springs ready to move away. I didn’t want to make new friends or live in a new place. I wanted what was familiar. But before I’d come, I’d made a commitment that I’d try anything out here, that I would say yes to everything (within reason) in this new place. So when my aunt started dropping hints about a guy named Chad—“Liz, he’s really cute and smart and not dating anybody…”—I sighed and said that yes, I’d go to the Mill with him. I wanted to see what it was like anyway.
(What’s the Mill, you ask? It’s a young adult church service put on by New Life Church. Yes, that New Life Church. Basically it’s a gathering of 1,000+ young people in Colorado Springs, and at the time, I thought it would be a great way to make new friends.)
My aunt and uncle arranged for Chad to take me to the Mill on the second Friday after I’d arrived in Colorado Springs. I met him there. He brought a friend, thank goodness. We sat through the singing and listened to a man talk about one of the ten deadly sins, and then, another man came up to say hi to Chad. “Liz, this is Jeremy.” I was distracted. We shook hands and smiled, and excused myself to go ask one of the New Life people to pray for me.
Just that morning, I’d been struggling with God about staying. I’d just arrived, but already I wanted to leave. He kept impressing on me the story of Abraham and Isaac, how Abraham was called to give up Isaac to death, without knowing the reasons of God. I did not know God’s mind. But I went up for prayer and the prayer minister said, “I think you need to give something up to God. I’m reminded of Abraham giving up Isaac…” I knew that I needed to be open to staying in Colorado Springs and not leaving at the first chance I got.
I walked back up the aisle toward Chad and the other guys and passed that guy Jeremy on my left. We saw each other and smiled, and I congratulated myself on not being attracted to him, even though I knew he was an artist.
Chad and his friends decided to take me to dinner. We went to a restaurant and talked for two hours. Chad kept mentioning that Jeremy guy—“Man, I wish Jeremy were here. Do you know what he’s doing, Evan? We should call him.” And he told me stories about Jeremy—about his art, about his spiritual life. It seemed odd to me, but from Chad’s stories and high opinion of Jeremy, this man I hardly knew intrigued me. I tried not to think about it.