Sometimes my mind grabs hold of an idea, and it just must be expressed. In general, I am not artistic, although I did take a drawing class a few years ago. I discovered in that class that I am excellent at drawing some shapes with charcoals. (Specifically: onions, apples, acorn squash, zucchini, and pumpkins–but not boxes, bananas, draped cloth, or buildings). Do you repeatedly make the same discoveries about yourself but they seem brand new? I do! When I took that art class I re-discovered the joy of creating. Just the simple joy of it.
Back when I was in 1st grade my grandparents gave me a box of 64 crayons~you know the one–it has a crayon sharpener BUILT IN to the box. Yeah—I was so ecstatic over that! (Not to mention the fact that it had a magenta crayon, a silver one, and a gold one–which I always thought about when we sang “Make new friends-but keep the old; some are silver and the others gold”. When I was a in 4th grade I found that I was great with cray-pas but lousy with colored pencils and water colors! You see, I loved the colors in the cray-pas–and my sloppiness was a plus with them—but a minus with colored pencils and watercolors (which always ended up muddy in my rushing).
Back to my point–I really did have a point! When I was in elementary school we were not permitted to use pens for anything until we became proficient at writing in cursive. You see, using a pen and regular filler paper were privileges. Until we were disciplined enough, we wrote with pencils on what we derisively called “baby paper”. I believe that late in 4th grade we graduated to pens.
Each year I was “over the moon” selecting my school supplies for the new year: filler paper and binder (oh which binder??), folders, notecards (color or white), and pencils (pictures, words, or plain). I usually just used whatever pens were around the house.
One year, though, my dad brought home a very, very, cool pen for me. He had picked it up on a business trip. This pen had~as I recall~ maybe 18 different colored ink cartridges all in the same pen. You pushed a little colored lever, it made a click, and the ink cartridge that matched that lever popped down. The pen was fat and a bit barrel shaped so that it could hold all of those cartridges. It looked a bit like this photo (except that it was solid blue and had at least half as many cartridges). I had to try it out right away—click, new color–write some words. Repeat! WOW!!! I was amazed.
Gidget gets a pen, right? Although I was in 7th or 8th grade, I felt like this girl using that pen.
It just made me so happy to be able to make different colors appear on my page with a click of my pen. I happily tucked it in my school bag to take to school the next day. I may have even skipped all the way there, barely containing my excitement at the prospect of using my pen. I imagined how it would brighten my teachers’ days to to see my pretty colored ink on my papers. I thought to myself “they probably get tired of just seeing blue or black ink” all the live-long day”!
Then it happened. I was in my history class and our teacher had us write an essay. I got out my pen and began to write. I had the amazing idea to write every word in a new color. Yes, that is brilliant–I said! I would write a word, then “CLICK” push a new color. Write a word, “CLICK”, and so on. I was having so much fun–and my essay was a sea of color. A few paragraphs later I noticed my teacher’s wingtips by my desk as I looked up from my writing. I glanced up at him ~ and he stretched out his hand.
Reluctantly I gave him my beautiful pen. He shook his head at me as sternly as he could ~ but his eyes were smiling. He understood. He still took my pen, but he understood. Unfortunately I finished the rest of my essay in either blue or black ink. I don’t think I alternated the colors at that point, though.
I never saw that pen again, but the joy of writing the multi-colored part of the essay remains with me to this day. I got more joy out of the use of the pen for my multi-colored essay that day than I would have in a lifetime of writing with that pen.
So what lesson did I learn that day? I learned many lessons:
- Don’t use a noisy multi-colored pen when you are supposed to be writing a quiet essay ~ it distracts people.
- I also learned that a multi-colored essay is beautiful ~ like a patchwork quilt made of words.
- I learned that even though I had to give up my pen, it is still a happy memory. I was so full of joy I was almost laughing as I wrote that essay.
- You really should have an endeavor or two that is so joyous and wondrous that it makes you want to laugh.
- Finally ~ the lesson I learned that I keep learning? Pour your heart into it. Win or lose, it is worth it. Laugh, love, write in many colors~laugh with joy.
- As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
- And to read the larger context of this beloved teacher of mine, please read the next post! Looking at the comments after I posted the post above, so many of you came to my defense and came down hard on my teacher. Out of context, the action deserved the critique. But after you read the next post, you may see it differently. https://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/a-loving-tribute-to-sir-my-teacher-of-a-lifetime/