Sunday, May 24, 2015

Delight - a high degree of pleasure, joy, enjoyment; something that gives great pleasure

In the late 1970s and early '80s, Mike served two churches in a small town in rural Indiana. Our parsonage was one block away from the railroad tracks. Sarah, our only child at the time, knew the familiar whistle and clack of trains that passed by our house frequently during the day.

Whether she was playing in her room or helping me in the kitchen of our shotgun house, when she heard the trains, she stopped  what she was doing, ran to the front door, and greeted the passing train with a grin, a chorus of clapped hands and a few jumps. Blue train cars, that carried liquid gas, were her favorites. She turned in circles and giggled when they went by.

Most children live in delight as they explore their world. For a child, everything they see is brand new. Interacting with the simplest object or toy can bring a twinkle to their eyes, a smile to their face, a laugh or hands coming together to clap!

Delight eludes some children when love is not reflected in the mother and father, when a child has a serious illness or witnesses  trauma among family members. Delight can be thwarted in these instances, as children need to focus on survival, or getting strength restored, or developing strategies to face their life circumstances.

In these cases, can a person find delight during adult years, to fill in the gaps formed during a destructive childhood?

I believe through God's provision, God can help an adult develop interests to create childlike experiences of delight.

Fifteen years ago, I discovered my non-dominant left hand. One day, I had a plain piece of white paper and a pencil. Listening to Christmas carols, I drew a candle, a musical note, and a bell that were mentioned in the lyrics. Staying with these objects in a way only God can orchestrate, I put them together to draw a child.

What amazed me about my new interest and ability in drawing was that art was my least favorite subject in junior high. I dreaded the required art class each week in seventh and eighth grade. When I was a freshman in college, I took an Introduction to Art class and received a "C", plummeting my strong "B" average.

Now, decades later, I was drawing adorable children with bright big eyes, and colorful clothing. In November 2005, I drew four children and entered my picture in a Christmas card contest sponsored by Mental Health America of Indiana, a group committed to empower those dealing with mental illness. My card was selected and used for the organization's holiday greeting.

Every day for nearly three years I drew children, boys and girls, some carrying candles, hearts and loaves of bread, others standing together holding hands. Drawing each child filled me with delight and brought joy to my heart.

My mother regarded the use of crayons a waste of time, hiding the  battered shoe box of broken crayons on the top shelf of the coat closet. Because she brought out the box only a few times each year, I did not have opportunities when I was growing up to experience delight through that common, childlike creative expression.

God resurrected my little-used left hand and through several years of drawing, enabled me to experience delight that I missed growing up.

Prayer: We are told "with God all things are possible". God, I am an example of your power to bring forth abilities in my hand that were meant to be, but not encouraged. Thank you for generosity of care that enabled me to greet the self you created me to be - left-handed - and to bring delight drawing children and other objects. Come to others who may also need resurrection of self to bring fullness of living. All things are possible in you.  Amen.

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