Instead, they taught me. AGAIN.
(How irritating.) NOT AT ALL! How wonderful! If only we adults could copy them.
And if only I hadn’t worn that shirt in that photo that makes me look like I have a four month baby bump. I’m 51 years old. I am not expecting anything.
Anyway, back to the story about the awesome thing these kiddos did.
The photo shows us gathered on Wednesday night for our BIG REVEAL! About a year ago we worked on an art project together for the final step of the renovation of our Children’s Hall here at church. Thanks to a generous anonymous gift to Children’s Ministries, we’ve spent the last several years making our special space at church into a place that celebrates God and celebrates children and the generous, beautiful ways they give to God, straight from their hearts.
The children’s committee decided that it would be cool to have two of our heroes of the faith, missionary Lula Whilden (who was a member of our church in the 1800’s) and Saint Francis, flank the exit at the end, with one of our favorite verses printed on the door, the verse that was at the center of our BRAVE VBS unit last summer: Be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid because God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9.
So we asked the children to draw Lula and St. Francis, and they did. But we could only choose one of each! This made me nervous.
I was the child who would have worked SO HARD on my drawing, hoping, hoping, hoping (and praying too, probably) that mine would get chosen to be put on the wall.
Our artist, member, teacher and friend, Carol Ann Good helped us get started. And we had real live models to sketch! Jennifer and Trevor were perfect and stood still for a long time while the children worked.
We collected sixty some drawings of each of them, I believe, and every one was awesome in its own way. But how would we pick?
The committee narrowed them down as to a selection that would work in the space, and we ended up getting an objective artist friend to make the final decision and oversee the enlargement and installment. Then it was time to do the reveal.
DUN DUN! (Insert Law and Order sound effect.)
First we showed them the books that would soon hold everyone’s drawings in our Gathering Room. (Emphasizing EVERYONE’S DRAWINGS ARE INCLUDED IN TWO BOOKS!) Because really, they ALL were awesome and deserved a place on the wall.
And then we took a deep breath (and I prayed for no hurt feelings or sobbing or angry mobs) and did our reveal!
And there was wild applause!
Which wasn’t surprising, because look at them. Aren’t they beautiful?!
And then, because I was feeling relief and a little lucky, I asked them a question. “What do you especially like about each of these? What’s wonderful about Jayne’s Lula? What’s awesome about William’s St. Francis?”
I didn’t know if I would get crickets or what. Instead, hands all over the crowd shot up!
“I love Lula’s cross!” “I love her lips!” “Her hairdo!” Her eyelashes!”
“I love the bird on St. Francis’s shoulder and how it’s smiling!” “I love that he’s wearing his hoodie!” “I love his left eye!” “I love that the fire alarm is on one shoulder and the bird on the other.”
They could have gone on at least another half hour and we all enjoyed every minute of it. They were praising someone else’s work, not bemoaning that it wasn’t theirs, not focusing on what they could have viewed as loss. This made me so happy for them!
They reminded me that in their innocence, they are so very wise. The next time I start to feel a tiny pang of jealousy over someone else’s good work, I hope I’ll remember to ask myself the same question, “What do you like about what she did?” “What’s wonderful about his work?” And then leave it right there, because whatever we do for God from our hearts is seen and found precious by the One for whom we’re doing it.
Lula and St. Francis would have loved it. And God, too. I’m sure of it.