Art class was never my favorite, but the public school system was always on a mission to create a well-rounded individual. So for those who were going to pursue basket weaving or making paper chains, we had to put in our time so our future would be successful.
There is artistic talent in my family that my daughters inherited, but it seemed to bypass me. It is so frustrating to see mentally what I want to put on paper but then produce something that is not even near what was intended. There’s darkness between that part of my brain and my hand.
I had always been under the impression that the ability to draw was given to some, not to others. There are claims out there that this isn’t true. If you work at it, like playing the piano, you can pick it up just as if you have natural talent.
I was never given this insight in school. Most of our instructors floated into the room and seemed abstract, like the projects they expected us to complete. We were supposed to glue things and apply paint to blank pieces of paper.
It was to reveal my deeper self with no directions, and it was a “do what comes to mind” type of thing.
This was the exact opposite of books and writing that I was drawn to. Those have rules like reading left to right, and there’s a point.
An article I read recently about this topic lost credibility for me with its grammatical and punctuation errors. It solidified my theory that we each have strengths and those we should capitalize on. Literally, use capital letters and punctuation when you write, and complete sentences are great, too.
I recently attended an evening of decorating glass ornaments with my two girls. It’s bad enough that I lack in this area, but then to sit next to those two who can whip out masterpiece work in seconds, my efforts look like preschool.
Within minutes, I was unimpressed. The idea was to take ink and apply it to the outside of frosted white glass globes.
After a while, it started to remind me of another object the more I had to labor over it.
“If a lamp burns out at home in the next 24 hours, I’m leaving it. These are making me hate light bulbs,” I said to my youngest daughter, who was in the middle of applying her magic effortlessly.
“And it reminds me of dying eggs for Easter. You know what happens when I mix colors.”
They always somehow turned out looking like grey rocks.
She was a bit annoyed but was making the best of it. She had set aside her colors right where she was going to sit, but when we left the room for minutes and returned, someone had taken all of her choices. Looking around, we realized we were immersed in hostile territory where some were taking this little craft way too seriously.
The person leading this had shown us how to use sponges and plastic wrap. During this demo, one woman kept saying,
“Wow! That is so amazing!” Like she had come from another planet.
What was I missing? I wasn’t catching the vision, just like all those times in school.
I was in great company with a lady across from me. She was throwing back one cocktail after another to cope, and this wasn’t her interest either. While she drank away her evening, I struggled to get through the task at hand. All the alcohol started to catch up with her, and she became a great distraction for me.
“Do you know what would make this even better?” She said.
“If I went outside and smoked a cigarette.”
Every time she picked up a bottle of ink to start applying it, it was empty.
“I think that is a sign,” I said.
“I think it is,” she said, trying to squeeze any stray liquid from the bottle.
After making absolutely no effort, she quit. Her friend across from her was intricately painting like Martha Stewart, and all of hers were identical and perfectly done. She then started telling those around her how they could improve their efforts.
“I think you should add some gold to that,” she said randomly as she took another swallow of the never ending liquid in front of her.
She looked like she was going to doze off at any minute.
The lady seated at the very end of our table was going with an all blue motif.
When it was time to quit, my hands were covered in various shades that would not come off that easily.
“Oh, look at that!” A lady said, gushing over the heart that my daughter had meticulously added to hers. She had somehow gotten over the adversity of having thieves take her supplies.
My other daughter was glad it was over as she found herself in my shoes for once. This just wasn’t a match for her artistic talent.
“Could you take my picture?” I heard to my left. The room had cleared, and she was alone; I thought she was with the group that had been there.
“I’m going to give these balls to my boyfriend for Christmas. I painted them blue, and he will get the joke,” she said, laughing. I wanted to say: there are children in the room, but there weren’t.
She just threw that at me. Like she knew me her whole life, and even then, that wouldn’t have been long enough. As usual, I didn’t flinch outwardly, but I cringed inwardly. She started to hand me her phone, but then pulled it back.
“Wait! Let me show you what he looks like.”
I wasn’t sure what I was about to see, but we had come this far, and there was no turning back.
“He is 65, and so am I.”
She flicked through pictures of his house, seemed to be focused and enamored with his wealth, and spoke like she had been with him for centuries. It felt a little desperate to me, and I had a bad feeling creeping in.
“How long have you known him?”
“A month. I went on a dating app. That’s how I meet everyone that I date. The guy I was with before him cheated on me, and the one before that too, but I went on the app and picked another one.” Just like shopping for eggs at the grocery store. Dozens to choose from.
I would rather be thrown in a pit of snakes than live that kind of life.
“Doesn’t that get frustrating? Going from one person to the next? Searching?” I asked.
“Sometimes. But, I really think this time he is the one. My husband died in 2012, so I have been dating since then.”
I saw a brief flash in my mind of her on her phone and looking for another option.
She posed with her creations while I snapped this precious moment in time. A year from now, it would probably be a long forgotten memory and deleted.
How do you tell someone that history is about to repeat itself while they gush on excitedly about their circumstances? You don’t.
She asked me where I lived, and apparently, one of her former cheaters lives near me. She warned me to stay off a specific street. Like I was going to be his next target on a drive-by? What powers did she think this guy had?
Suddenly, she started to talk about God and the church she attended. And then came the question I’m always asked,
“Where do you go to church?”
My standard answer is: online. Otherwise, it’s like attending a timeshare presentation, and they want you to sign up and commit on the spot.
I thought about her later that night, and I heard: She’s worried about her age and being alone, which is why she keeps making the same mistakes. Fear is motivating her, and that always leads to failure.
I was shown that while she wants to connect with God, she keeps getting swayed to look for protection and security in men. And while she sets her sights on the outside, she cannot graduate to a higher level on the inside. If she would, the striving to find what she thinks will make her happy would cease.
Do you know that God is okay with you coming close to Him, or were you taught to be afraid and to keep a distance? In Psalm 17:15, there is an answer that could clear up a lot of unnecessary chasing:
And me? I plan on looking
you full in the face. When I get up,
I’ll see your full stature
and live heaven on earth. (Message)
The invisible realm is challenging to rely on because you cannot always see it, but it can be felt. The more time you spend seeking that instead of what the world claims to give, you find peace beginning to settle in. You have to get comfortable with not always being able to view it as we usually do.
In Philippians 4:6-7, it is explained how to let go of the dating app and hold on to God’s hand:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. (NLT)
Instead of looking at all the broken pieces and trails of disappointments, God can use it all to create an original mosaic that can be viewed as magnificent.
There is an art term that sums up what can happen if we let God do the work in us:
Unity: The arrangement of one or more of the elements used to create a feeling of completeness. Everything in the work seems to belong and contributes to the overall picture.
When you let go of your plan, and let heaven direct circumstances for your highest good, you will come to realize a new level of existence that is known as unity.