I taught elementary art today, a spare bit of leftover work I had signed up for from the couple months where I was substitute teaching as an in-between gig. The classroom made me a little nervous, no matter how harmless the students looked, but in the end it was hard to be scared of first graders.
So I explain the assignment (draw a castle and color it) after an intense discussion about castles (Disney World or Universal Studios?) and finally: Does anyone have any questions?
A small girl in the corner quickly raises her hand, looking as though she is about to burst with excitement. Others in the front are called on first, but finally, we make eye contact as she nearly rips her arm out of it’s socket trying to reach higher while still keeping her butt in the chair.
She stands up straight. “Can-I-have-a-hug?” the question explodes out of her in one breath, eager eyes locked on me, hopeful.
I pause, trying to remain in substitute-teacher-mode, but my eyes and my smile surely give me away.
“Yes, on your way out of class, dear.”
“Okay,” she sits down again, grinning to herself.
We are back and forth with exciting things and harder things right now. Serious theological questions mixed with hopeful dreams of a house, a website, an album. ‘Should women be allowed to teach in the church?’ is followed with, ‘What do you think of this couch?’ and such. Our lives feel so often like a weaving, a flowing together of threads all different shapes, sizes and colors that often I find myself praying with that image in mind. Lord, would you be woven into our days, I ask. Would you be woven in here, and please, make something beautiful.
A new start is scary/thrilling/hopeful/nerve-wracking, and so we do it anyways. We start the blog, we sit down at the piano, finding ourselves intrigued by the creative parts in us that we think, just maybe, want to get out. The part that lives deep down that sometimes we nurture and sometimes we get frustrated with the tears and don’t know exactly what it wants. So we recommit to taking time to ease it out of it’s tortoise shell, one article at a time, one melody a day.
It makes the art class I was in today feel timely, like this time, I really believe what I’m teaching. I value the creative and I want the students to draw their castles with anything they imagine. Pink horses? Sure! Flying dragons? Why not? The hand of evil bursting out of a flaming lava river? You go, kid. You. Go.
A friend had asked both Paul and I a few months ago what our hobbies were, and we stared blankly in return. A couple weeks ago, I brought it up to her again. “Yeah, that was weird,” she said, “Who doesn’t know what they like to do?”
I laughed. She’s right. I get so caught up in the work-like-a-dog, can-I-make-money-off-of-this mentality, that I forget to cultivate something different: fun.
So, the writing, the music, the (gulp) voice lesson. The library books on decorating, the hand-creating of a loom that has now taken over our otherwise unusable fireplace. Ahem. Not unusable, simply unable to contain fire. Perfectly fit to contain novice handmade weavings of yarn.
Cultivating something different. Something fun.
New rooms for old houses: Beautiful Additions for the Traditional Home
By Frank Shirley
Look Alive Out There
By Sloane Crosley
By Fleetwood Mac
By Brandi Carlile,
Off of the album Live At Benaryoa Hall, with the ENTIRE SEATTLE SYMPHONY behind her. ‘Tis beauty complete.