“IT WAS MORE THAN WORTH IT to labor throughout the Christmas Eve vigil mass to capture the fleeting moment in which I saw Sister Lüeh [not sure about my spelling] look up towards the altar with such unblemished, uncompromised, radiant joy, because I SAW THAT LOOK AGAIN WHEN I SUMMONED MY COURAGE TO GO AND SHOW HER AND ALL OF THE VIETNAMESE SISTERS who were unexpected guests to our church tonight. All of their eyes lit UP, and they took my book and passed it amongst each other, all down their pew, and they all pulled out their phones and took photographs of my work, pressing down the pages and setting it down on the seat of the pew in front of them and doing all they could think of to get the best photographs of it. Sister Lüeh told me her name and I told them mine – she thought I was in high school, and I told her I work for UNICEF and had graduated from college this May. They were so full of gratitude and awe, and I felt like I gave them something – which gave me more than I ever imagined receiving in my feverish mad rush of scribbling and erasing and singing and praying and kneeling and listening and watching and loving to PRODUCE something REAL. I was so afraid I wouldn’t pull it off, that I wouldn’t be able to render it. Sister Lüeh only held that upward gaze of joy for a moment, so I just had to work with a single frame I froze in memory. But even before I made it across the aisle to show the Sisters (who I do credit in the sketch’s subtitle), a man I’d never seen before wearing a red Marvel mask (which I later told him I loved) came up to me and stopped me, and he said that the sketch was amazing or incredible or something like that. Apparently he’d been watching as I passed it along…
Oh. Yes, this is me. This is what I am.
(I typed this into my phone at 5:27 pm EST after we had made it back to our house, as I sat in the cold car alone, after everyone else had gone in, desperately trying to record things which run more deeply than words (hence the art). -Michaela Jane Lozada)