Art, Love, Magic...and Serendipity

I first met Michael Lagocki at Camp Improv--an event put on by Leadership Network. Not that I was actually introduced. There was just this man standing at the back of the crowd with a handful of markers capturing all of the ideas that were being presented from the stage. Not notes exactly. Not a drawing or a painting. Speakers like Ron Heifitz and Jim Collins were presenting their ideas in a flow of words and stories, and Mike was capturing them in a way that gave them form and made them stand still. And, because the thoughts were captured, they could be studied and reexamined simply by walking past the boards he had created.

Over time, I ran into Michael professionally--or maybe I stalked him--and we got to work together on a couple of projects for my day job. As it turns out, a few weekends ago, he stayed at our friends, Carl and Sunny's place on the lake. But, we'll get to that thread in a minute. After I explain how I met Carl in the first place...

One day, I received a call from Ron Martoia--whose books I'd read and whom I'd met at a conference. "Cathy? Would you be able to come to a restaurant in McKinney for a conversation tonight? Dr. Carl Raschke--author of the Next Reformation--and I are pulling together some people we think might have some things in common."

A favorite author? A famous theologian? (I had things in common???)

I was in.

I took the watercolor crayons I'd stolen from my friend Robin-the-Artist and scribed the meeting--in an effort to create some of the magic Michael had. Now that I think about it, it was probably only the second time I'd ever done that. I sat next to Carl's wife, Sunny, who picked up some of the crayons and played along. For some reason I put a fishing pole in the center of the page. A thought the conversation ran one way and the next.

As the thoughts flowed, I found the ones I drew most often were those by a couple at the end of the table. Justin and Kelly Nygren. They didn't speak a lot, but when they did it was worth drawing. At one point, Kelly gave an illustration about fishing that truly captured the essence of the whole conversation. As it turned out the pole was just sitting there in the center of the page, waiting to be finished. I flipped my pad around to show her what I'd drawn.

After the meeting, I sent Sunny a package of watercolor crayons in the mail. I had no idea at the time that her day job was that of an artist.

Weeks later, Crosspointe--which wasn't even my church at the time--hired Michael Lagocki to scribe a worship service and I covered the event for one of the magazines I write for. Kelly and Justin (and their friend Jeff) came. I stalked them too and went to lunch with them simply because I wanted to get to know them better. I'm not sure if Justin and Kelly met Michael that day. Michael says they met through David Rodriguez--a friend of Sunny's from her retail days--who also worked with Michael at Wildworks--a gig he initially got through Crosspointe (but that's just confusing).

Okay, so Michael stayed with Sunny and Carl for the "Art Love Magic" planning retreat with the other two founders--wait for it--Justin Nygren and David Rodriguez.

Art, Love, Magic breaks the mold of what an art organization could be. Forget the normal gallery image of "shhhh" and "don't touch." With their first event, Reach, visual artists created live, poets filled the air with music and words, and people were invited to interact. Art, Love, Magic, is transforming the art world into something as filled with motion as the art itself and creating opportunities for artists at unprecidented levels.

Anyway, at the planning retreat somehow my name came up at which point Michael asked Carl, "How do you know Cathy?" To which Carl said, "How do you know Cathy?" To which I said later, "What? Carl and Michael know each other?"

So in a story thread filled with serendipity, I met with Justin and Michael tonight at Saxby's to talk about Art, Love, Magic. Not the amazing art, love and magic parts (though we did some of that) but the organizational and passionate parts. The what it is and what it could be parts. And as I sat there listening to these two amazing guys share their mission and passion, I very much wanted to be part.

This morning I received an e-mail from a colleague who said his mission for the day was to "Open the doors you want to walk through." Fortune-cookie-esque, true, but it was a phrase that came to mind as I was driving home from Saxby's.

What if serendipity isn't just something to say hmmmmm.... about? What if serendipity is the thing that points out the doorways?

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall