I stand paralyzed with a paintbrush in hand looking into a mirror, my mouth gaping wide open, a face full of awe and fear. I try to steady myself as my mind spins like I just got off a merry-go-round. I begin to look around. Everything is a white so glorious that even the purest of souls would be exposed for frauds in comparison. I feel curiosity begin its mission and call me to wonder why I’m here. Longing for understanding, I ask myself,
“What is the purpose of a mirror?” A mirror is something that must take all of our imperfections and flaws and bring them to surface. But as I shakily look into the mirror, I don’t see myself. I see a piece of parchment colored in a black that causes my paralyzed body to shudder. I feel an unexplainable connection to this parchment, thirsting for color. Ravenous for beauty. Then all of sudden, a creature whose anatomy is relatable to angel appears. He gracefully and walks with a beautiful air of confidence towards the parchment. His bright golden white wings with silky soft feathers lightly bounce behind perfectly sculpted shoulders as he walks. He approaches the parchment and cleanses the darkness with the flick of a wrist, creating a pearly white page.
I tremble as the creature looks at me with his eyes of fire. I can’t contain the creature, I’m forced to look away his beauty burning my eyes. My voice quakes as I humbly ask,
“What am I supposed to do?” I feel like a weak and worthless child as I interrogate the incomprehensible creature with such frail words.
His voice like thunder, rumbles only a single command,
“Paint.” The creature gracefully leaves me. I scout out the items around me as my heart pumps with adrenaline. I see nothing but the now blank parchment. How am I supposed to paint with no paint? What am I supposed to paint? I stand alone silently tasting the salty tears fall into my mouth, wanting nothing more than to understand when colors begin to emerge from the edge of the parchment. My longing for knowledge is now a story told on the parchment in vibrant colors. I gasp finally making sense of the puzzle. Who I desire to be is the paint, the parchment my soul.
The Little Old Lady With Soft Curls
As I remember the harsh black the parchment previously held, I think of all the beautiful people I’ve had the privilege to know. My mind is filled with wonder as I think about the symphony of colors of their souls could bring to life. Then I ponder the priceless colors that selflessness could bring forth. Only warm and bright, colors creating an all encompassing feeling of comfort. A genuine love and heart of service for others. In the middle of the parchment another story begins. I see an old woman. Glistening beads of sweat are born in the gray curls that gently lay over her forehead, and a smile is gracefully etched on her face by the Great Artist above. The smile not only radiates across her face, but lives in her sharp and alive eyes. The blue sea in her eyes tell of her gentleness. With one look at this peaceful sea, I realize this is my grandmother.
I feel a smile crawl across my face as she continues to come to life on the parchment. Soon, I see children begin to emerge all about her. I immediately recognize them. I see the beautiful long blonde hair and the dinosaur shaped teeth of my cousin. I see my little sister, her perfectly blue eyes glowing as she snuggles her fluffy blue and pink heart blanket. Then I see myself, sitting on my grandma’s lap, never wanting to leave. She begins to laugh, her white and grey curls bouncing back along with her delicate head. She runs with the children, she makes the children food, she comforts them with purest joy. Dusk beginnings to surround them and the children quickly tire. Soon they are fast asleep, but the exhausted old woman stays awake. Her eyes flutter in desire for sleep, but she fights them. Her only concern is the continual comfort of those around her. I feel my eyes become wet and my heart happy as I watch her, feeling guilty for all the times I didn’t appreciate her. She makes me feel little and vain. I feel a joy and rush of affection for her as I remember all our jokes and stories. Now the story has ended, and the children fade from the parchment, yet my grandma stands alone representing every form of selflessness.
A Rainbow in the Midst of the Dark
My mind is now obsessed with the beauty of the desire tainted paint. I yearn to see it gracefully paint another tale. Looking deep inside myself, and I see a longing for the fearlessness I had when I was little. I feel excitement rise inside of me as a new story spreads across the parchment. I see a brown haired little girl wearing her favorite pink flowered dress sitting on her legs and humming the beautiful song of innocence. Crayons spread messily all about her, she makes a picture with the sloppy grace and passion of a child. I crane my neck to see what the child is drawing. She carefully drags a black crayon around in circles, making swirls . The swirls become clouds. The child seems unbothered by the darkness and the evil the clouds bring to the paper. Her paper filled with blackness, I stand wondering why such a little child would draw a disastrous storm. Then I recognize, she doesn’t know, but she is drawing the world around her.
I watch the child’s paper intently as she draws one more dark and heavy cloud ready to release its wrath on earth below. The chubby little hand looks greedily around, and snatches a bright red crayon. I watch her arm move across the page in curved line connecting a bright red light to the somber clouds. Next, the little hand searches for a joyful orange. Making another curved line below the contrasting red, I realize she is making a rainbow. All my focus drifts to the bloated hands that make such crooked yet beautifully meaningful lines. Though the clouds are like the world around us, the rainbow is like a child’s fearlessness. The child takes the horror and finds beauty in all the chaos. As the child’s motion begins to fade, I smile thinking of all the little children around me. They bring a smile to your face in the darkest of times, they believe everything is going to be okay. As I think of them, I begin to feel fearless myself.
Fields of Purple
The parchment now almost filled with color, still holds a dry and blank space. Though only a minuscule space remains, my paint supply is far from running dry. My mind is burdened by the empty space. My desires are as deep as the ocean, and it seems impossible to pick out only a drip. So I pick the one every person longs for. I draw peace out of the ocean. Now that my decision is made, the characters for the final story take their places on the stage.
The characters are more than I could’ve ever imagined. The sky takes its usual spot on earth’s stage, which is the heavens. It wears a robe of light blue with large and puffy cotton balls stuck onto it. Below a field is painted with hundreds of purple flowers. The flowers bow and begin to dance in the wind, all swaying in a melodious rhythm.The sun makes his appearance with unceasing brilliance clothed in its yellow garment. The beauty of scene comes together with the wind to sing a song. I close my eyes and listen. As I listen to the heavens and earth praise their Creator, the song begins to rise from the parchment. The song floats towards me, penetrating my heart. When the symphony is over, I open my eyes to see once again the story fading. Now the parchment is satisfied. From black to all of the colors of the rainbow, my soul is made beautiful by the heavens and the earth and all they contain.
Like the Fields of Purple