Paint and Dirt Between my Fingers.
When I was a little girl I lived in a big house with an acre of land. An acre of land isn't that much but to a little girl it's like she has a big piece of the world all to herself. My family and I had ten dogs. Well, we had one very loose momma dog who was always pregnant and ten little puppies. I remember as soon as I got home from school I would run to the iron gate that led to my backyard and I would spend all afternoon with my puppies. I would roll around in the dirt and all the puppies would rush to me, licking my face and jumping on me. I loved it.
I remember I loved to paint, color, draw anything that had to do with colors, I was all over it. I loved to dip my fingers in the cool paints and run them across the white page. I have no talent for drawing but at the age of six you don't worry about the talent you lack; you just revel in the feel of the paint on your fingers and the feel of your heart as it produces something you didn't even know you could make. My aunt would always encourage me to paint. I remember she would make me feel like I was actually good. Even now she has this big painting I made of flowers with super-long stems and happy faces, she has it framed in her bedroom.
I look at that painting and I smile, but sometimes when I dwell on it too long my smile turns sad. What happened? Why did I ever stop? Did I become too self-conscious? Did I realize that I wasn't that good? Why did I stop doing something that made me so happy? I haven't painted in years. My fingers haven't felt the sticky coolness of paint, my heart hasn't been warmed by silly creations in a long long time.
When did I stop rolling around in the dirt? Not caring about whether it got in my hair or in between my fingers? And the worst part of all of this is that I can't pinpoint a specific time that all this stopped. It was more like a gradual dimming of a certain part of my heart. Maybe I grew out of it. Or maybe the feeling that made me run in the rain, the feeling that enticed me to make hundreds of mudpies, the feeling that made me glow with joy over my silly painting, maybe that wonderful awesome feeling left because I ceased to see how it would ever be relevant.
What would that feeling ever do for me, except distract me from serious living?
Kids always want to play. And what do us adults do? We tell them to relax for a bit, sit down. But why are we telling them to take a break from the joy of living, of experiencing, of being so fully alive? The Man with the dirty sandals and beautiful heart said that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we have to be like little children.
I want to remember. I want to feel like a child. I want to have faith like a child. I want to laugh like a child. So I will paint, even if it is a painting of flowers with long-stems and happy faces, I will feel the sticky, cool paint between my fingers and I will relish it.
I have to.