The tables in the room were full.

Every seat taken except the seat across from the woman with three jute necklaces around her neck and the small Indian girl.  They ate in silence, those two, scooping the curry rice and fresh vegetables onto their forks.  It was the simpleness of her white hair, the wrinkles on her sun baked face, the leather pouch that hung casually at her waist that caught my eye.

She wore wisdom like a fragrance.

There was a lifetime of stories behind the light in her eyes.

“Are you a part of this place?” I asked her, as my hand swept up the entirety of the main floor of the Sri Sri Radha Krishna temple in Salem, Utah.

“Yes,” she said simply.

I thought back of what I had learned from the tour I had just finished and wondered…could she be the one…

“Are you the founder of this temple?” I asked, “The one who built it?”

Again, the simple reply, “Yes.”

My heart filled with so many questions I couldn’t even think where to begin.  They spilled out, one after the other, overwhelming… “Tell me about your journey.  How did you get here to Utah?  Why build a temple here?  Where did your faith journey begin?  And …when did you become a painter?”

Her eyes caught mine, wisdom discerning sincerity, and she began just where I had left off…

“You don’t become a painter you just are.  Similar with a devotee.”

Her name, it turned out, is Vai.  Her story began in London and ended in Salem, Utah.  “The purpose of life is spiritual,” She taught…gentle words backed up by life’s experience.

“Krishna is a doer,” she explained, summing up the story which had become her life, “I just try to not get in His way.”

Her message was remarkable.  Worth the trip.  You should go there and ask her to share it with you.

By now lunch was over.  It was time to go.  I asked for a photo, and then picked up my belongings and walked out the door.


And not just from my lunch.

It has been my experience that when we enter a situation looking for the similarities rather than the differences, the Lord can bless us in abundance.

That afternoon I discovered so much that was similar between us.

I believe in a God blesses His people with protection.  So does Vai.

I believe in a God who performs miracles in our lives if we can just try not to get in the way.  So does Vai.

And, just like Vai, I believe the purpose of life is spiritual

It was the similarities that had enlarged my soul and increased the capacities of my heart.  It was the similarities that had filled me….strengthening my own faith as I learned from hers.

Vai left me with a longing to return to that place.  The blessings.  The miracles.  The peace.

Is that not what every true follower of Jesus should do?

I wondered if my conversations leave others wanting to know more of Jesus?  Of His blessings.  His miracles.  His peace.

Now, as I pause to look at the canvas that has become my life, I see the vibrant strokes Vai left there, brushed on amidst the other colors the Master has designed.

I am what I am because of Him.

I am what I am because of who He has sent to teach me.

Leaving strokes.  Adding color.  Filling the measure of His creation.  Filling me.

…you don’t become a painter you just are.  similar with a devotee.

I find it interesting that a painter improves with practice.

Similar with a devotee.



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Emily Freeman
Emily Freeman took her first creative writing class in high school and has loved writing ever since. She finds great joy in studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Her deep love of the scriptures comes from a desire to find their application in everyday life. She is the author of several books, including The Peter Potential: Discover the Life you Were Meant to Live; 21 Days Closer to Christ; and Written On Our Hearts. There is nothing Emily enjoys more for breakfast than a bowl of coconut ice cream, strawberries, and toasted coconut. Other favorites include parades, vacations, firework displays, and going for a long walk with a good friend. Emily and her husband, Greg, live in Lehi, Utah, with their four children, whom she adores.
Emily Freeman
Emily Freeman

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