Joy in a Box of Crayons

Joy in a Box of Crayons

I recently started coloring again. Have you seen all of the grown-up patterned coloring books out lately? Very intricate flower designs intertwined with scriptural verses. Oh, they have all kinds. Funny dogs, beautiful birds, classic paintings, you name it. But don’t be fooled these are not for the kids. They are way too complex and detailed. They are everywhere lately. I have seen them in the craft stores, the office supply stores, and even the supermarket. I just kinda looked at them surprisingly asking my daughter are those for kids?

I was told on the contrary they were not. Well, I was given a few books and some finely lined gel-pens for Christmas last year. An old friend I had not seen in decades had sent them to me. Obviously, she had no idea about my life right now. Coloring books and gel pens, I thought, really?

Well, why not I’ll give it a try. I had not held a crayon seriously in years. It seemed silly at first until I started to color but then the minutes faded into a peaceful hour at my desk, shading and carefully making sure not to color outside the lines of the masterpiece on the page. It looked really beautiful. It was hard to believe that I had made something so elegant. I was tempted to pull out the page and hang it up next to my granddaughters cactus picture on the frig in the kitchen. But maybe that would be too much I reasoned.

My husband had already come by my office door several times to see was I really coloring in the middle of the day? For a little while, I felt like a child again. Back at my grandmother’s kitchen counter with a glass of Yoo-hoo on the one side and the big box of crayons on the other. I imagined my dog Heidi was at my feet laying over my sneakers and all was right with the world. Wow, did a coloring book and a box of gel pens just do all that? Or did I just allow myself some time to be a kid again? Not bad at all. I could grow to like this adult coloring!

I looked in the mirror yesterday and for a fleeting moment, I saw my younger self. She was hidden behind a few laugh lines, freckles deepened by the sun and the same smile that still looks back on my mother’s sepia-toned pictures. There she was. Perhaps it was the crayons that drew her out.

Sometimes I see her in my children’s expressions, or my granddaughters face whenever she meets a new friend, half peering around her mother’s skirt and kicking a stone. We are still the little girls we used to be. All full of wonder, anticipation, and surprise. We still can harbor hope and we still can dream even though we are sometimes slow to reveal it with the same intensity as we did in our youth.

What would I tell my younger self? Relax it’s not that serious. Slow down and pay attention to the moments around you. Look and learn you are smarter than you think. I can’t go back, unfortunately. If I could there are so many things I would have savored and others I would not have made such a big deal over. I would have had more courage and I would have spoken up more and listened to myself more.

But I decided long ago to give that child-within a break and extend her the grace I wished to give others. I did the best I could for where I was and by God’s providence, I’ve managed to navigate the path that brought me where I am today.

We need to love ourselves more and remember deep down at times that we are just little girls in grown-up dresses. It’s ok to celebrate the child who believed in castles and kingdoms and flowers that sing.
God made us to be soft and to be kind and to be nurturing. Life sometimes causes us to become something else.

Well, I’m off to Hobby-Lobby. They have the best selection of gel pens and coloring books I have ever seen. I am looking for something Disney related this time. Nothing like a huge castle with a princess sitting by a garden to start off a great relaxing weekend.

Remember that little girl in the mirror and find your happy place today!

live, love & celebrate