A Different Color Holy

image (c) by Shelly Ribeiro. Used by permission

image (c) by Shelly Ribeiro. Used by permission

The house held order and expectations, looming obsessive elders ensuring perfect behavior. Did all old people turn dour and strict?    She sat in the kitchen watching Mother finish the school assignment – her school assignment. Always the good girl, she figured out the rules and did what Mother expected, but it was rarely enough.

Mother’s way was hard, boring, painful, and always right, but never right for her. That was her picture of Jesus, too. No wonder she couldn’t trust Him. Why would His way be any different than Mother’s?

Tracing the memory in her imagination, she braced herself for the dreaded conversation with Jesus. Sighing, she’d screwed her eyes shut and clenched her teeth, bravely forcing her will to do whatever “The Master” wanted. Jesus would be “The Master,” just like Mother, wouldn’t He?

Holding her breath, she peeked, expecting to see Jesus, arms crossed, giving the next instruction. Strangely, His eyes twinkled as He pulled her outside, away from the kitchen, into sunlight and frolic.

Rose- and salmon-hued streaks coursed across the sky, sunset colors exploding in a world-sized palette. She looked up, imagination alive and pulsating, and saw Jesus flinging more pigments across the firmament. Yellow and gold mixed with apricot and peach and coral, radiant colors glowing from the afternoon sun. She threw her own arm skyward and watched as the colors responded, blurring, blending, swirling with every motion.

No critique? No “wait, it’s not the right color?” or “Dear, do it this way?” She couldn’t remember unjudged creativity in her little-girl life. Finger paints and messes? Strictly forbidden. Now Jesus offered her freedom? Her fertile imagination saw the colors dance. She erupted with giggles and laughter, and ran around the acre tossing clouds and painting grass.

Her eyes roamed from her drab, gray-shingled home to the verdant lawn, where Jesus formed huge, neon-bright fruit for glowing green trees and brilliant clouds for the perfect sunset picture. Funny, HE didn’t seem so concerned with immaculate order. She thought holy meant sacred, spiritual, somber, purposeful, and… intense. This new image of Jesus didn’t fit any model she’d ever imagined.

Jesus infused this healing time with life, and the pictures in her mind whirled with His presence. He seemed intent on providing what she didn’t know she lacked – play; Jesus created a new space entirely. A fun holy-place, a free and life-giving world of creativity.

This was the foundation for a creative identity she’d never owned for herself. The imagination play-yard sent her artistic spirit soaring. The yard became a holy place where she and Jesus could talk, play, walk, hide, laugh and romp, and it pulsed with delight and color.

Is your “holy” hard and drab and lifeless? If you could choose a color, what color would your “holy” be?

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