This past week, I had the pleasure of five straight days of my niece and nephew (spring break for little miss). Hence why I haven't been writing much.
These kids are absolute joys. They kill you with a smile. And of course, I'm thrilled that they think I'm great at everything and lots of fun to boot!
I'm not really great at everything; there are some things that are certainly passion, though. And I work at them to be great. The love comes easy.
So Sunday, the three of us are sitting in church. My nephew decides he doesn't want to be there, even though he insisted on coming, too. I told him we'd leave as soon as church was over, since grandma was not coming to get him (she was busy hiding easter eggs). I handed him the back of the sermon outline and a surprisingly worthy pew pencil, and he set to work doodling.
Ok, scribbling. He's 3.
But the kid loves to draw. He will draw for hours if you let him. He also knows if he doesn't describe it to you, you'll never get it. On that back of that sermon outline, he drew one little squiggle blob, then tapped me on the shoulder and said, "It a monser." I said, ok buddy. Nice monster. Then he drew another little squiggle blob, tapped me on the shoulder, and said, "It a alin." Ok, buddy. Nice alien.
Then he took that pew pencil and furiously scribbled all over the entired thing, then looked up at me with the biggest smile and said, "They fighting." I smiled back.
He looked back at the drawing for a few seconds, kind of tilted his head a little. Quiet. Thinking. Then he turned the pencil around and started trying to erase. Trying because, well, it was a pew pencil; the eraser was long gone. Broken or bitten off many moons ago by some other little doodler, I'm sure. I mean, uhm...."note-taker." "Faithful, attentive, devout note-taker."
That's what I meant.
But watching him try to erase, it was all I could do not to bust up laughing out loud. Right there in the church service.
It's a squiggle. It's two blobs and random frenzied lines all over everything. What did he see in that drawing that was erase-worthy? Just to scribble again when he was satisfied it was rubbed out.
To him, though, it made perfect sense. That was his masterpiece. That was his beauty. That was his art. And something about it wasn't right. He was going to make it right.
I can't blame him. I feel that way about my work, too. Most of what I do - it's nothing really. It seems that way, while it also seems like everything. It is just perfectly natural for me. It is what I was created to do, and when I'm tapping into that - it seems so small and insignificant, and yet I know that it has its own power. It is speaking something to someone somewhere that I - and the world - and even God - could never say any other way. I get that.
Still, there are times when I feel like a lot of the world is looking over my shoulder and seeing scribbles. They are seeing a mess that they don't really understand sometimes, and I am tempted to look up and say, "It a monser." That way, at least they know. In fact, I have spent a great deal of time doing just that. Looking up, declaring loudly what I'm up to, what I'm working on, what I'm doing. Trying to convey through that bold voice and assertive tone that this matters. That this means something. And trying to make people understand.
What I wanted them to understand...was that I was justified. In this passion, that doesn't seem to be a whole lot by a lot of bizarre standards, but it means the world to me. Because it is in these moments that I touch God. And when I touch God, I also touch a part of myself. And when I'm touching that heart of myself and touching my God, I am able to touch the world.
Then one day, it happened. There I was: scribbling. I looked up to declare my accomplishment, and He was there staring back at me. Before I could utter a word, He said, "Ok, buddy. That's a nice monster." And I just smiled so big and went back to it.
Because you see, the thing about it is this: When you're doing what you're doing, and you're fully engaged in it, and you're touching God and you're touching that deepest part of you, and HE's touching that deepest part of you, all you really want is to know that someone gets it. And you can spend your life shouting about it, looking for that validation from somewhere else. But it's already in your heart. It's there where God dwells.
He whispers, "Ok, buddy. This is what I have created you for."
And you get it. And it energizes you. And you look down at what may or may not be scribbles, but it makes perfect sense to you. So you turn that pencil around and start rubbing away what doesn't make sense; you want to go back and make it right. For no other reason than to honor your gift.
What do you need to rub out to let your gift come through? What doesn't quite make sense, but with a little tweak here and there, will mean something more? Are you looking for the world to validate your passion/gift or are you looking up at God with that biggest smile on your face with the pure joy of doing it?
He is smiling back.