Chalkdust and Butterflies

One evening while I was pulling weeds from the flower beds, my youngest daughter pulled out the sidewalk chalk and began to sketch designs upon the cement patio. “What should I draw?” she asked.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I replied, “How about a rainbow?”

With that small incentive, she began to color across the rough canvas. Soon a small rainbow took shape with a stick-figure family standing beneath it. As I finished my work, I walked over to join her. Sitting down beside her, I picked out a few pieces of colored chalk and began to draw a large butterfly. Our imaginations and hands worked together as we filled the cement canvas with bumblebees and dragonflies, flowers and a giraffe; we even made a pond complete with cattails and a duck. For the better part of two hours we shared in conversation and creativity.

As the evening drew to a close, the gray dullness was filled with bright splashes of color and design, and our hearts were full from spending “girl time” together. It mattered not that our mural was obviously the work of amateurs (as best exemplified by the dolphin turned sea monster). To the two of us, it was a venue of shared laughter and love.

During the night, the rains came.

The next morning, there was no sign of our artwork; not one stroke of color remained. All was wet and gray.

But my heart was still filled with rainbows and butterflies and the sound of my daughter’s giggles and words of encouragement as I very “un-artistically” sketched and colored beside her.

Although the cement canvas is now bare and empty, the mural of my heart remains full of color and life from the memories made that evening, and therein lies the true beauty of it all.

For life is found in coloring the moments as they come. Filling the blank canvas of our days with splashes of brilliant hues. Adding rainbows of promise to the seemingly hopeless situations as we remind each other that our Father is Lord over all. Scattering butterflies of belief into the hearts of friends who need a dash of color or a sprinkling of faith.

The true joy of living should not be judged by how artistically or gracefully one maneuvers through life, but rather, by how blatantly carefree one is in splashing color upon another’s soul. Unaware of fingers smudged with chalkdust. Oblivious to each other’s less-than-perfect sketching abilities. Not confining ourselves to the grayness of a present situation, but instead, inviting others to join us in transforming the gray hardness into a softened and colorful world… in spite of it all.

Regardless of rains that may fall in the night.

For tomorrow, another opportunity will present itself. Another day will stretch before us, inviting us to fill its canvas with the wonder of living the moments.

So let’s face each day with a bucket of chalk and a heart set to delight in filling it with color and love. But mostly, let’s delight in the joy of companionship that makes it all worth living.

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