A friend leaned over in church, whispered a compliment in my ear during the middle of the sermon about the doodles my daughter drew on the back of her bulletin. I pulled in close and told her that she also drew the clothes she needed to pack for her trip. Drew them.
Murielle didn’t create a checklist of items to fold into a suitcase for a week in California with her Dad, she sketched each blouse, skirt, pair of pants, and accessory she intended to take with her in an imaginary closet. Each item so intricate, I could’ve gone to her closet and packed her myself. A rendering with a pencil on lined paper in a spiral notebook, not a fancy art journal.
I have stacks of church bulletin sketches I can’t bear to throw away. Just yesterday, I found a crude stick figure drawing of Jesus hanging on a bent cross in some old paperwork. She showed me a long time ago, that listening comes easy when her hands are busy and letting go of perception provides a portal to providence, a glimpse of her beautiful soul.
My girl, she has never been one to compartmentalize her creativity to the art room. It’s part of her lifeblood. That’s why I’m not surprised she’s looking at colleges for architecture and design.
A few days ago, I stood in the middle of the card aisle with my son at CVS when the phone rang. It was her, calling to download after a campus tour in Pasadena. Harrison was pushing patience through a sieve, pacing with the birthday card he picked out for his Dad in his hand as I talked to his sister.
“I hate that school,” she said. I knew it wasn’t going to be the short conversation he was hoping for.
“The walls were all stark white for one thing; actually I didn’t like anything about it. I realize I want to go to a school that offers design and this school was all about the engineering side of architecture.”
Right there, surrounded by rows of greeting cards, I thought about the lopsided watermelon people with viney limbs she drew on sticky notes as a child, the hours seated at her miniature table in the kitchen creating masterpieces, summers of art classes, the PowerPoint presentations she creates “just for fun”.
“Yes, I get that honey, design is your thing,” I affirmed.
In the early years of parenting, a table loaded with glue, paint, fabric scraps and a bucket of buttons held her attention for hours. Over the years she earned the title as the girl Most Likely to Be Picked as a Partner for School Projects. The day she uttered, “I wish there was a class offered at school for doing projects all year,” was the day God gave me a glimpse of His next chapter in the story of her life
Often the mundane minutiae of modern life we see as mindless interruption is actually God’s carefully crafted key opening the beauty of the Kingdom.
And here we are, parents on the precipice of positioning our daughter for more than just finger paints – a future in creating art for people. A sign that some of our seemingly insignificant Saturday’s were actually part of the intricate planning by the Master of design. But then again, nothing is insignificant to God is it?
After church, I crawled into the passenger seat and turned around to see both the kids bent over their phones. I thought about my admission to you – here on the blog last week – about closing the lid on my paint palette because of perfectionism.
“Hey, I was thinking about taking some art supplies up to the cottage this year,” I said to Murielle, “I haven’t done that in a long time. We could have rainy art days.” She nodded in agreement and looked out the window.
Today I’m giving away one copy of Life After Art:What You Forgot About Life and Faith Since You Left the Art Room by Matt Appling to a lucky person who leaves a comment on this post. Winner announced on Friday.
Tell me, what do you want your life to say about you?