Coloring Outside The Lines
Have you ever watched a kid color? I mean just jubilantly smashing the crayon deeply into the paper, disregarding the crisp lines that outline the image they are bringing to life. The kind of coloring that is so much fun it only needs one color to fill in every space on the page. Have you looked into the eyes of that little artist and seen eyes so full of life, eyes that see the beauty in the midst of the chaos of what they just created?
I don't color like that. Truth be told, I don't see many adults color like that. I color the right way now. I draw a dark crisp line around the outline of the image and then methodically shade in the inside taking care to apply even pressure to the crayon makeing every effort to keep the shaded line marks as invisible as possible. And if I color outside the lines, I find an eraser or I start over or just stop coloring because it's silly and ultimately I have more grown-up things to do anyways.
I miss the freedom and joy of coloring like a child. I think the day I stopped coloring like a child was the day I started losing the joy in much more than coloring pages because I found myself constantly trying to live life within the lines. I started prioritizing being right and professional and grown-up as if those concepts held the key to joy. The truth is those things have robbed my joy more times than I'd like to admit.
In God's great Grace He invited Mer and I into the dream of UCA that left us wild-eyed and coloring like children again. There is something about knowing there is no chance in the world you can color in the lines that brings a sense of freedom. And there were wild-eyed people like you who kept stocking our proverbial crayon box and joining the coloring adventure. We sure did create something beautiful together, huh? And while we could easily find untailored or heavy fisted lines to critique in those free-spirited pieces, we don't. Instead we step back and say, "I love it!"
I wrote that last paragraph for myself, because this week I've turned into a monster of a grown-up. The kind of grown up that is so preoccupied with perfection that I missed the beauty that exists in a child-like process. This week I've been good at seeing all the ways a more wise and competent team would have created a less messy picture.
So I'm fighting to remember that God never expects perfection. I'm fighting to remember that Jesus commanded his disciples in Matthew 19 to let the little people come to him "for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven". I'm fighting to remember that God delights in the scribble scrabbles of UCA.
This list of things the scholars remembered about school as we left for the summer remind me of the beauty found in our scribbles:
Kindergarten has been teaching us about Jesus and Martin Luther King Jr. and how they are being nice and forgiving people just like God forgave us. - Naria
I was laughing that one time because Miss Moore tricked us and popped out of the box. -Daniya
I liked when our class went out in the forrest and went exploring for animals that Jesus made. -Markiel
I liked when we got the bulla hoops (hula hoops) from some kind friends so we can bulla hoop at recess. -Beautiful
I remember when we ate a birthday cake for Miss. Kalie’s birthday and is was looking like a bus and our pictures were in the windows. -Ginyaa
Our class made old people and we were saying that when we are old people we will be breaking our back and stuff. -Kistin
The water wasn’t working so we went to Taco Bell and a kind friend gave us an elephant and he was so nice. -Demond
One time Baby Ellie was playing outside on the slide with us and she was giving us hugs cause she is so sweet. -Daniya
We went to Royals place and we was out there screaming, “Let’s go Royals!” -Armya
We went to go learn about recycling and we were sharing with each other. -James
I remember going up the elevator and it was glass and you could see the whole place and the tennis field and it was making me dizzy and shaky and my heart was getting scared but it was fun. -Markiel
We heard a story teller and it he was being so silly about the alligator and the chicken and she was singing, “Drinkin’ and splashin’ woooo!” -Brendan
I remember when we had a birthday party for Miss Kalie at her church and it was so awesome because we got to go up on the stage and sing songs. -Key’Van
We always be laughing hard on the bus cause we get to be with our friends. -Rihanna
On the first day of school my momma brought me and I was sad but now I’m not cause it’s not my first day and Miss Moore lets us have fun. -James
I remember when I could think in my brain and could make words with letters. -Messiah
I liked when we went to see the Royals. -Ginyaa
I remember when we were making Valentines for Ms. Clare at the library and we gave her a cookie. -Armya
I remember when we went to Miss Moore’s college and we saw where the college kids go to bed and we saw their dryer and the girl said sometimes people leave there stuff in there. -James
I liked going to the Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer puppet show. -Markiel
I remember going to the circus and the people were cool. -Key’van
I remember when I learned how to do 2 digit addition cause I was feeling happy. -Brendan
I like when Miss Kalie’s Grandpas come help us fix stuff. -Key’Van
I liked when we went to college and ate pizza and Santa Clause was there. -Ginyaa
I love writing time cause I like to illustrate about Jesus and God. -Beautiful
I really remember when Miss Emily came and water colored with me after school. - Rihanna
One time we went to the train place and saw trains with so many colors and they even had beds in them for nap time but we just looked at the trains, we didn’t take naps. - Naria
I remember Miss Janet is so kind and is helping me and I learned how to read. - Daniya
I’m happy when our class gets to go to all the parks in Kansas City. -Ginyaa
I remember when Ms. Janet brought us costumes and we dressed up and had a parade. -Markiel
I love Miss Stephanie’s art class when we get to paint. -Kistin.
I remember when I was so proud of Ginyaa for getting her green words. -James
We went to DeAnna Rose Farm and it was my favorite cause we got to pet the animals. -Brendan
I liked when we went to see The Purple Guys and sang them some Christmas songs. -Demond
My favorite was getting a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch and Scarecrow Betty was being kind to us and let us pet the animals and my dad was there and we played. -Armya
We had so much fun when we went swimming. -Ginyaa
We went to go explore a cave and I think there was a bear in there. -James
That one time we smashed up pumpkins and feed them to the big sheep and they got their faces all orange and it was all over their mouth. -Key’van
I love going to the library cause they have Martin Luther King Jr. and Rose Parks books and pop-up books. -Messiah
We had a Thanksgiving party and made little pumpkin pies. -Naria
I liked making cotton candy with Miss Kalie. -London
I remember when I got a candy cane from the treasure box cause I was following directions. -Key’Van
I like when we sing and pray to God every morning. -Daniya
And when kids' words fall flat on my deaf ears and heavy heart, these pictures tell the story loud and clear of a Good God full of great big love for His kids and the way He sings over us as we color away...regardless of how good we are at staying in the lines.