“That Story Lady”

Angela Scott, Author – Storyteller – Ventriloquist

How a Temporary Sign Makes a Permanent Impression

November 26, 2009


Last summer I saw a large sign on wheels with a message that caught my attention. Displayed on the lawn in front of my grandparents’ church, the sign stated, “You may have a heart of gold but so does a boiled egg.”

Reading the sign several times while sitting in my car, I noticed another sign in the background. It was a permanent sign made of cement, which was quite the opposite of the sign on wheels.

The temporary sign displayed a message which could be changed merely by moving the letters or changing the words. Information on the permanent sign was static. Intrigued by the two different messages, I stared at the message on the temporary sign rather than the permanent sign.

When I stepped back to photograph the temporary sign, the permanent sign looked like a rectangular shaped Lego kids’ toy with information for adults. I guess the information on the temporary sign was for kids because that is what caught my attention. After taking three or four photographs of the two signs, I drove away. It has been over four months since I first saw that sign but after reflecting on the temporary message, I finally understood the meaning, which made a permanent impression in my mind.

Just one month later while attending a convention in July, I walked through a maze of hallways looking for a workshop I wanted to attend. My eyes stopped when I saw an abbreviated Bible verse displayed in large black letters on a rather large wall in the Wellness Center of the university. It was a bright day with lots of sunshine, so the ten words were easy to read. “…be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. ” (Ephesians 6:10)

The wall appeared to be constructed of cement blocks connected with deep lines, similar to the latitude and longitude grids of the earth. Reaching for the camera in my pocketbook, I centered the words in the screen of my digital camera and pressed the button for only one picture.

A few weeks later when writing a thank you note, the idea struck me that the picture of the message on that wall would make a great illustration to accompany my handwritten note. Although the 4″x6″ picture was larger than the envelope for my thank you note, I was determined to remedy the obstacle. I stopped at a store with an instant photo kiosk to reduce the size of the 4″x6″ picture to a wallet size.

As I looked at the reduced picture, I saw a contrast that I had not seen when I originally took it. The closer I looked, the more I realized the difference. The portion of the wall with the Bible verse and reference was strikingly light while the lower portion of the wall was dark like a dense fog at night. I gasped when I remembered that the darkness was not distinguishable on the wall when I took the picture.

Recently, I remember seeing a picture in the newspaper that showed a dog watching television. Even though I don’t remember the product advertised, I do remember the sub-title. “It is not what you are looking at… it is what you see…”

A Malian proverb states, “Those who accomplish great things pay attention to little ones.” Learning to look for extraordinary things in ordinary moments is my focus now. When I take a deep breath and slow down, I am able to appreciate what I had been too preoccupied to see.


All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

Add A Comment