Where’s “The Happiest Place on Earth”? As a native SoCal gal, of course I knew the answer to that – Disneyland! Suddenly, Leighton Drake had my attention, and our parish lenten mission became personal to me. Having been to Dland dozens of times, not only as a child, but then with my children, I am well acquainted with the “happiness” factor of their marketing slogan. I am also familiar with the bleeding feeling as money escapes the wallet in mass quantities for parking, entry, food and souvenirs. Then there are the cranky children and exhausted adults. I totally relate to Drake’s disenchantment with the Enchanted Kingdom. Based in Phoenix, Leighton Drake is an artist and youth minister, most familiar with the Disneyland dilemma. For some reason, Walt Disney’s original theme park is a coveted destination for Arizona youth groups and senior class trips. Or maybe I’m just jaded, amusement parked-out.
After captivating us for nearly two hours with his conversion story and ongoing journey of faith, Drake, husband and father of four, stood before his empty sketch pad, and with seemingly random strokes of a chunk of charcoal, transformed it into a passionate portrait of Christ, bloodied and crowned with thorns. He then offered the breathtaking work at a silent auction after his talk.
My son, who has never been to Disneyland, but has discovered an interest in art, due to an art program on DVD we have been using in his homeschool, was absolutely delighted with the demonstration, and insisted upon examining the drawing in more detail. We came away with one of the artist’s prints, a gift for ds’s upcoming 1st Communion/Confirmation, (the opening bid on the silent auction was waaaaaay beyond what I could even consider) and a burning desire to become “on-fire” for Christ again, and to seek out ways to keep our love for Him burning steadily.