Book Tour Entry #1: America in November and the Painting that Saved Bill Murray's Life

It's been a blur so far:

  • California deserts by night on Sunday
  • Flagstaff's pine forests and alluring Grand Canyon signs (alluring because I so badly wanted to deviate from the course and drive to the Grand Canyon) on Monday
  • New Mexico's painted deserts on Tuesday
  • The Texas Panhandle plains on Wednesday

...and a whole lot of Route 66 in between those locations--darting in and out of the Historic Route 66 during stops like we were in the movie "Cars."

But for me it's the early evening skies, like this one over Casa Blanca, New Mexico:

It's the American South West and Heartland in November. Cool and brisk during the day but still sunny--downright cold at night but not cold enough to snow.

Somewhere in between all of the above a presidential election happened.

America is such a beautiful country, and I love it deeply. It is one of the greatest privileges to be a citizen of this nation.

And I've already met some nice people on this book tour, and the official events haven't even started yet. For example, I shared my book with the hotel clerk who was manning the check-in counter, which led to a conversation about church and the book of Ecclesiastes.

America is full to the brim of people who are not only willing to talk about God but are spiritually hungry. Whenever I drive across its plains and deserts and mountains--and meet all sorts of people along the way--I thank God for this country. For all her faults, America has done many good things. I believe God will use America for more good before this crazy age ends and the real King returns.

America in November.

The sunrises and sunsets on this drive remind me of a painting I saw at the big art museum in Chicago, "The Song of the Lark" by Jules Breton, one of the most captivating paintings I've ever seen. I stood in front of that painting longer than anything else in the museum.

Bill Murray felt that way too, apparently.

I came across a news article about it: apparently Bill Murray was going through a difficult time in his life, in the early days in his career when he was in a theatrical troupe in Chicago in the 1970s, and he was extremely depressed. He was just about ready to end his life. He was walking down Michigan Ave toward Lake Michigan with the intent to end his life there so he could at least end his life "floating a little," when he impulsively stepped inside the Art Institute of Chicago. There he saw this painting--"The Song of the Lark" by Jules Breton, the same one that captivated me--and it so moved him that he stood there staring at it a long time, and it changed his mind about ending his life. Here it is, the painting that saved Bill Murray's life:

This is a prime example of--in my opinion--God (yes, I believe the Holy Spirit had a hand in using that painting to help Murray) using creative things like art to change a person's heart. (For example: God used books and music to get me through some dark seasons of my own. That's what Shadowlands and Songs of Light is partly about.)

God has many tools at his disposal to accomplish His wonders and works of love: nations, paintings, songs, art museums, and simple testimonies--even a modest road trip through the brisk and chilly plains of this country.

Joy and grief in November. Warm roads and cold winds in November. Bright orange deserts and midnight super moons in November.

America in November.