A happy child’s color palette is bold and beautiful. Grand #3, Emmalie, entered the world early in the morning to general rejoicing, and she has been a bright spot in our family ever since.
I receive a text and photo on a rainy weekday afternoon from daughter Amie. “Our little artist!” pops on the screen. Emmalie, her gorgeous smile echoing the brilliance of her blue eyes, holds up her sketch pad with a rendition of her sunny outside world complete with wished-for tree house.
On Wednesday, the kindergartener has her one remote day of the week, and usually she and her mom would be outside looking for caterpillars or topping up the bird feeder before digging in the dirt to plant flower or bean seeds. The rain prevents normal activities, so she busies herself at her art table, imagining the world as it should be and hoping the showers stop before her dad comes home and could join her for a bike ride.
The world outside our collective windows these days may not show the metaphorical glory of sunshine and blue skies. All of us have experienced the epitome of the gloomy gray days for these past months when our worlds have been tainted by the pandemic. Our worlds have been colored with necessary masks and sanitizers and social distancing as we put others before our own desires for closeness and convenience. Right now, we see neighbors from a distance and parents and grandparents on Facetime, Zoom, or Meets. We are diligent in caring for others and keeping loved ones safe through every means available. These are not the days we wish for but are the reality of what we have, and we pull together as we hope for days to come. Remember, God remains faithful. And we remain His arms and hands, showing kindness rather than selfishness, doing unto others as we would have others do unto us, loving our neighbors as ourselves.
When I need a pick-me-up, I scroll through photos of my four grands. Their perpetual smiles assure me of their happy worlds full of adventure, discovery, and just the slightest bit of mischief, all enfolded in a loving and nurturing family.
At home, I rotate their artwork on the refrigerator, just like I did when their parents were my artists in residence. I notice today that the chosen colors, whether paints, pencils, crayons, or markers, are the happy ones, the clear and energetic ones. Yes, every one of these masterpieces have similar palettes––boldly outlined robots, schoolhouses, cars, landscapes, all filled in with the colors of happy children.
“Papa, did you like my art?” I see Em’s face on my phone. She is already smiling, sure of my answer. I do not disappoint: “Wow! It’s incredible!” Behind her, I notice strings of colored lights along the ceiling––no gray days for her, whatever the outside world may be.
Emmalie wears clothes of her own choosing, as colorful as her art. Most days, she has on purple shoes or blue boots. Her hair bows are stylishly oversized in vivid stripes and polka dots. The music she sings, with or without accompaniment, is upbeat and up-tempo, and she belts out tunes with a sassy spin around the dance floor. She has a can-do attitude and faces every hour of the day with energy and excitement. If I could see her outlook on life in technicolor, I know the entire rainbow would be evident!
The world beaming from inside of Emmalie radiates security. She builds Lego skyscrapers, she dresses up like favorite movie characters, and she bows her head to pray, her family joining, affirming her fledgling faith in her Heavenly Father. There is no wonder her drawings sparkle with happiness.
Emmalie reminds me to be hopeful, to expect life to be glorious in any circumstance. She shows me how to take ordinary and imagine extraordinary.
The lessons she lives out for us each day calls us to be diligent in looking for the bright spots in our day-to-day world. She reminds us they are there, no matter how the outside looks, no matter how long we must endure uncertain days.
And just so I do not forget, I am placing the picture of her artwork on my refrigerator.
Homeword is written by Jim Edminson, Charity & Children