I’m a mom. That means I do things that I don’t like to do because I love my children. Take crafting for instance. I rate it right up there with root canals, plumber’s cracks and reality TV. I wouldn’t be surprised if hell was actually an eternity spent making crafts with egg cartons, pipe cleaners, and glitter. In fact, I just saw an article about a company that mails glitter to your enemies. I am thinking about moving. Immediately. With no forwarding address.
Actually, when my kids were younger, I suffered silently through the crafts hoping they wouldn’t notice my innate disgust for all things sequined. When they could finally create cool stuff independently and I just had to cheer them on, I’m pretty sure the heavens opened and I heard the angels sing. God knows what we can handle and, as only He can, He has blessed me with a youngest child who likes science experiments more than crafts. When the others are grown and have moved out, our will be a science-experimenting, board-game playing, craft-free existence. Ah, bliss!
In the meantime, my 3 youngest daughters and I took a daylong oil painting class. I went with the intention of muddling through while enjoying their happiness. But, it turns out that I love oil painting more than my craftaholics do! It was like messy color-filled therapy. I was trying to follow the instructions of the teacher but got lost in the pure joy of manipulating the paint on the canvas. I came out of my trance to find the teacher talking to me and my hands covered with paint. Good thing there wasn’t a principal’s office to send me to.
I had so much fun that I promised to buy myself oil painting supplies as a graduation present. With the gift card my son and his family gave me for Christmas, I even splurged and got my dream easel, a full-sized wooden French field easel. After about a million years (really, less than a week), my easel arrived and it was everything I ever dreamed it would be.
And so it came to be that I sat there, my supplies arranged around me, facing a blank canvas, trying to decide what I would like to paint. I knew I wanted to paint a landscape but with God’s glorious creation all around me, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. The decision was exciting but overwhelming. I finally settled on painting a photo I had taken at Mount Pisgah State Park after a sudden rain. I started painting and realized that mixing the colors is an art in and of itself. I’ve begun the painting but am unsatisfied with my color choices.
The beautiful thing about oil is that you can come back to it later and keep tweaking it until you’ve gotten the result you wanted. It’s the perfect reflection of my own feelings on life. Each year, actually each day, is like a blank canvas. I face it with the hope and expectation of a child on Christmas morning (I am an eternal optimist).
But then I make mistakes or someone splatters yuck in my life. I get upset, usually yell and cry over the phone to my family therapists (read sisters), then shrug it off and come back to the canvas to try again. I can do this because the artist of all creation is still in control of my life.
Knowing God has my back allows me the privilege of splashing the colors on the canvas on my life with reckless abandon knowing that the end result will be something He has made beautiful.