BLOOMINGTON — After Shannon Masters lost her ability to work, she sat down and cried.
And then she prayed.
Being unable to work at her job as an independent hairdresser due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Gov. J.B. Pritzker's shelter-in-place order, Masters didn't know what to do. Going from a two-income household to one left her questioning where she should go next.
“I remember just sitting in my room thinking 'God, what can I do right now?'" Masters said. "We need some peace, we need to know you’re hearing our prayers. You cannot get away from the heartache right now, and I know every single person is feeling this right now."
On Thursday afternoon, Masters felt compelled to do something. Grabbing a piece of Kingsford charcoal and pulling up a photo of Jesus, she sat down in her driveway and got to work.
After three hours, Masters had completed a beautiful mural for her neighborhood to enjoy. A picture of Masters with the mural has been shared more than 400 times on Facebook, attracting families to her house to stop and take a picture.
"It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Jesus putting himself out there and letting people know that he is in control," Masters said. "I just feel like he used me as an artist to remind you 'Hey, he sees you, he hears your prayers.'
By Friday morning, five or six people had driven by the house to look at the mural. Masters said it made her happy and excited to see the smiles on people's faces, despite the tough times.
She said people are welcome to drive by her house at 803 N. Morris Avenue in Bloomington.
“I’m all about spreading love and as many outlets as I can use to do that, hopefully it will get to the right people who are supposed to see it.”
As a hairdresser at The Parlor in Bloomington, Masters incorporates artwork in her daily life. For many kids, she carves "hair tattoos" on their heads, creating fun patterns or logos they request. She has a chalkboard in her studio that she uses for fun.
But she has never taken a formal art class outside of high school.
So, when she picked up the charcoal and got to work, she felt God was using her to spread his message. She found an appropriate picture of Jesus, where it appeared he was looking up at God, and "wants us to know he's got our backs."
With so much uncertainty in the world, Masters wanted to bring some light to Bloomington-Normal. She welcomes people to stop at the foot of her driveway to look at the mural.
As Easter approaches, many families are unable to see their families during the holiday. Many churches are offering virtual services or a drive-in style service.
"Easter is going to be really hard and I’m totally aware of that," Masters said. "If I can spread a little joy this Easter, that’s what I’m excited to do.
“We need to look toward Jesus right now and I know everybody is going to be struggling with this.”
Contact Sierra Henry at 309-820-3234. Follow her on Twitter: @pg_sierrahenry.
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