The aroma of paint and paper welcomed the parents to the art room during the high school open house. We milled around telling moms and dads about our work displayed there that night. This moment to shine validated the effort given to color, line, form, design, shadow, gradient and other creative elements.
“Your son is talented,” Astra Patterson, our beloved instructor said to a pair of overly happy parents. She went on to describe the method he had used. They listened nodding their heads grinning from ear to ear.
“Oh, we are just so proud! Look at this!” They each held a side of the brightly charcoal rubbed page and made exuberant comments about it. Mrs. Patterson beamed. Then her face changed to horror at what happened next. She tried to remain composed but had a hard go of it.
The mother said, “You know what we are going to do son? We are going to take this and get it laminated. Yes we are.” My jaw dropped. Astra was sputtering. The parents were oblivious to our distress at the thought of treating art in such a damaging way. Finally our teacher was able to form her words in a tactful way.
“That is great that you want to display your son’s work. Might I suggest a great way to do that? You can take it to a framing shop in town. They will mount it in a frame with glass. This will preserve the art and you can hang it up and everything.” She had managed to not offend and they were grateful for her suggestion.
This incident of desecration deterred is seared in my memory in full color detail. I must confess, though, that this well intentioned mother is not the only one to diminish the worth of something that should be esteemed.
I, too, am guilty of wanting to laminate pieces of art.
When I jump to conclusions and spew out trite solutions to age old problems I am not validating the pain of the person trying to just get me to listen and not interrupt.
When I shoo the children to the other room with nothing more than a nod after the lay their hearts before me in gifts of trinkets and doodles I am letting their magnificence slip by unnoticed.
When I curl up on my bed berating myself for not being good enough, or happy enough, or strong enough, or whatever enough and then get up after half-a-cry putting on a mask to try to cover my perceived inadequacies I devalue the beautiful work God is doing in my soul.
My prayer today: When I am about to laminate the goodness before me, Father, may there be rescuers like Mrs. Patterson to intervene and help me to value the valuable.