Once every fortnight I have a very special art class. I pretend to be an art teacher and for one hour I do art with a handful of adult “students” at the local Cerebral Palsy League.
Over the few months that I have been doing this, I have learnt to let go of all expectations. Sometimes we have a great class; sometimes it is a little bit less good. But even that is okay.
It seems to work best when I follow this procedure: I take along pictures of various things that I have either torn out of magazines or printed from the internet. Each student chooses a picture, which I then very roughly draw on paper with a pencil. They then make a painting thereof.
Some are more meticulous than others, carefully painting the outlines with a small brush dipped in exactly the right colour and then filling in the rest. Others are less concerned about “getting it right”, painting in colours and forms that cross all boundaries. There are one or two who are only capable of squishing the brush up and down, covering the whole image in a mish-mash of unrelated colours, under which the original outline totally disappears. This initially made me squirm with an unspoken “No! You’re spoiling it all!” Yet it often turns out beautiful anyway.
For me, these art classes have become a metaphor for other things in life. Even for life itself.
We are all given a blank piece of paper with a faint image of what our lives could become, a blueprint. And surely God has certain expectations of us. He wants us to make something special of the plan he has drawn for us. If only we stick to his outlines. And as we mess up and mash up our lives, he must squirm and cry “No! You’re spoiling it all!”
I hope that even for the Master, our lives still seems beautiful at times, even in a messy sort of way, imbued with our special individual colours and brush strokes and squishing marks. That he won’t mind too much if we paint outside the lines...