0… the end?

So we’re down to zero today, and we’ve reached the end of our story.  For those of you who have been following these drawings since it started at #30, you might be wondering what was the point of this story.  Actually, it began with the end in mind.  The story itself doesn’t necessarily represent anything, it was more of a means to an end.  At the beginning of the month, I wanted to do a series of drawings for every day of the month leading to today, but couldn’t think of anything to lead up to it.  #30 was sort of a random idea that was in my head that evening, and even then I didn’t know how it was going to get to the end.  I kinda had to figure out on the fly how the story was going to finish.  About halfway through, I finally had to sit down and plan out the rest of the drawings to make sure I had enough days to finish it.  I had always wanted to draw this picture for a long time, but the timing was never right.

Or , if you want to go in a more roundabout way, you could say I was too chicken to draw it.

Sometime around last summer, I decided to put up this number on my chat status.  It was somewhere around 450 or something like that.  The number would go down with each day that passed.  Sometimes the number would jump down by a couple days; or it would pause for a few days.  And sometimes, it would go backwards.  The number was more of a personal thing since I’m usually on chat every day.  People would ask about it, but I decided to keep it a secret until the countdown ended.  When it got down to 30, that’s when I began the series.

Some of you might have guessed what the end result is already, but for those who haven’t, I’ll fill you in.

I had said before that drawing was a passion of mine, and in March, I decided to go part-time with my day job as a bridge engineer to try my skills at illustration and cartooning.  During that time I worked as an intern at a studio a few minutes from my place.  After hours, I began to draw some of my own material.  I was having fun and I noticed my drawing was getting better.

Even though I was getting better at my drawing, I still didn’t feel confident about trying to make a living from pencil and paper.  Most of it was financial, as I tried to plan for a smooth transition from the higher-paying engineering job to the eat-out-of-can lifestyle of the starving artist.  Things were going well at the studio to the point where I thought I was going to join the studio full-time.  As the end of the summer neared, things began to unravel.  There wasn’t enough work coming in to bring me on full-time.  I waited and waited, and I was starting to get antsy.  Things also weren’t looking up at my engineering job.  My friends in architecture offices kept informing me of their layoffs and I figured it was only a matter of time before the L-word would reach my firm.

In early November, I was encouraged by a friend to fast and pray about the situation to calm my anxiety.   We went to a beach where we spent a few hours praying separately.  During that time, I read out of my Bible, prayed a little bit, but didn’t get any blinding light or booming voice from the clouds.  As I was walking back, I looked out into the sound and for some reason thought about the scene from The Ten Commandments where Moses parts the Red Sea so the Israelites can escape the pursuing Egyptians.  I thought about that for a minute, and then something clicked.  If something spectacular like that happened to anyone, would they still walk through it?  How would they know that the waters wouldn’t come down on them?  How would they know they would be able to walk through the mud?  How were the wagons able to get across in unpaved ground?  If I believed that God could do a thing like make a sea split in two for people to walk across, couldn’t He provide me with enough money to pay my electric bill?  If He could part a sea for a nation, I’m pretty sure He could part an aquarium for little ol’ me.

That day left an impression on me, and I felt very inspired.  I began thinking about leaving my engineering job at the end of the month.  It was going to be a hard decision to make, that is until I got a call from my manager.

In early November, all the staff at my engineering firm gathered together for an all-office meeting.  The news wasn’t good, we were 23% overstaffed.  When I first heard that number, I was a little shocked, but for me the writing is was almost on the wall.  I began to figure that as a part-timer, my days were numbered.  My hunch was validated when my supervisor called me in for a meeting… along with an HR person.

So it’s official.  Today is my first day as a full-time cartoonist, which means yesterday was my last day as an engineer.  The past couple weeks haven’t felt any different, probably because I’ve been too busy to think about it.  On Monday, it began to sink in a little bit, and for the first time, I felt a little fear of what’s going to happen in the days ahead.

I’m going to give this a shot.  I know I could fall flat on my face and get into some real trouble if things don’t work out.  My situation’s not that bad though.  It’s not like I’m starving, fighting cancer, or running for my life every day.  Things will be alright, and God’s good enough to take care of me if He wills.

So with that, I present you with the end of our story.  I hope you’ve enjoyed my chicken scratch so far.  I plan on working on a couple pet projects this year now that I’ll have more free time on my hands.  Stay tuned, there’ll be more to come.  Thanks for dropping by, and have a very Happy New Year!

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