I was reading through some writings from my time doing art therapy in Uganda and this one particularly stuck out to me this morning:
Each girl has a few minutes to draw whatever she would like. After a while, Megan and I asked them to close their eyes. With eyes closed, Megan and I took black markers and drew some sort of line on their drawing. Essentially, we messed up their pretty little pictures. After we let them express their shock and disappointment, we challenged them to make the black mark a part of their drawing. Turn it into something. Don’t let it ruin the picture, but instead think of it as an opportunity to create something new or different.
And just like that the black lines went from being dark, obstructive, and out of place to being jump ropes, snakes, mountains, gardens, boats, hearts, etc.
Sometimes in life someone or something comes along and messes up your picture. You weren’t ready for it. Your eyes were closed. Maybe you opened up your eyes only to see that someone abducted you at 14 years old and now you’re forced into killing people with your bare hands. Maybe you opened your eyes only to see that your spouse cheated on you and ran off with all your money. Maybe you opened your eyes only to see your house burning in a forest fire. Maybe you opened your eyes only to see that the dream you were chasing is never going to be a reality. Black marks look different for everyone, but they invade all of our pictures from time to time. A lot of people let black marks define their pictures. But, like we told the girls, “You and God in you are capable of making something good and beautiful come from something that once seemed dark and horrible.”
A friend recently told me, “God doesn’t eliminate evil. We don’t really see evidence of that. He transforms it.”
God doesn’t give or use erasers, He’s more creative than that.
I don’t know about some of you, but I’ve got lots of black marks in my picture right now. I feel like all I can do is pray and hold onto my marker. Challenge accepted.