Saturday, April 27, 2013

Earth's Angels

“Josh, do you want yellow paint or blue paint?” I asked the dark handsome young man as he held his paint brush at the ready.

“Do you want yellow paint or blue paint?” came his reply.

I tried a different tact: “Which color would you like?” I asked as I pointed to the yellow and blue bottles.

“Which color would you like?” he repeated as he rubbed his hands in anticipation of painting.

His piercing blue eyes gazed at me and my heart melted.  Holding his hand, I directed his attention toward the paint.  First, I placed his hand on the blue bottle and then on the yellow bottle.  “Choose one.” I instructed.

“Choose one.” he repeated as he picked up the blue bottle and handed it to me.

“Great job, Josh!” I praised his choice. 

He grinned at me as I poured his paint into the cup.  Without any hesitation, he carefully dipped his brush into the cup and went about his work with unbridled delight.  It was clear that this young man was born to paint.  As he turned the melted record, he never got one drop of paint on himself or the table.  His meticulous workmanship was evident as his creation came to life.  It was going to be a blue flower - a piece of yard art.  The 
iridescent blue on the black record was strikingly beautiful.

“This is going to be a masterpiece!” I said to Josh.

“This is going to be a masterpiece!” He repeated.

Next to Josh sat Jason chatting away about this or that as he made his melted records into a small fountain.  Behind Jason, Zach was removing the cover off the worm bin preparing to feed the worms.  On the other side of Zach, two volunteers were busily melting records on a grill having a grand time laughing and reminiscing about the days when we played our music on turntables.  The baby sat in her playpen while Derek fed her cheerios.  

“I’m the best babysitter.” Derek informed me.

“Yes, you certainly are!” I smiled at him.

As I looked around at all my special students I couldn’t help but notice what a happy place it was.  No one was grouchy.  No one was complaining.  It dawned on me that I couldn’t remember a day when anyone was ever in a bad mood.  I know that all my troubles seem to melt away when I’m with my kids.  

Why, I pondered, are all these kids so happy?  Surely they shouldn’t be happy by our standards.  Some of them can hardly speak.  Some have physical deformities that are very limiting and must be painful.  Yet, they are all exceedingly happy.  No, JOYFUL.  That is what they are - JOYFUL.  They are filled with joy beyond what we mere mortals can comprehend.

I have a theory.  My theory is that these special people are God’s earth angels.  They are angels sent into our lives to keep us humble.  They are sent into our lives to remind us of how blessed we are.  They are sent into our lives to bless us with pure joy - if we allow it.  You see, we have to recognize God’s precious gifts in order to enjoy them.  

“Josh,” I said as I noticed he was almost done with his blue flower, “would you like to paint a yellow flower now?”

“Yes.” he said.  

My heart almost burst.  Josh had never answered a direct question in his life.  This is what I live for - little victories which shine through my special students every day.  They are my earth angels that I am so blessed to serve.  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fingers vs. Brain

Writing.  Writing .  Writing.  That is what I do.  I am a writer. I am, I am, I am, am I? Am I? Am I?  I am a writer or am I a writer?  Is writing who I am or is who I am a writer?  Does writing define me or do I define it?  How do I decide what to write?  Does what I write decide me?  What a paradox.  

I don’t know if my writing finds me or if I find my writing.   Where do I find my writing?  Is it in me?  Is it outside of me?  Is it part of who I am or part of what I am surrounded by?  Where does it come from?  Does it come from a babbling brook or a bbbbabbbbling brain or a bbabbbling blood flow from within the veins of my being; within the pores of my skin.  Does it pour out of me or does it pour into me?  

Pouring like the rain.  

Pouring like tears of sadness and tears of joy and tears of frustration.  

Mellow tears or hollow tears?  

Pouring like the river of babbling words.  

Where does it come from?  From my fingers that keep typing away at nothing or typing away at everything?  Fingers eating away at the thoughts running, skipping, racing through my brain like a freight train with no destiny.  No itinerary.  No journey too far or too near or too crazy.  

That is where my writing is taking me to the crazy train of thoughts that race unhindered in a fertile mind that has no boundaries.  It could derail at any time.  It does derail and skips rails and tumbles into the train wreck; into the train yard of rusty old memories.

Where does the writing come from?  

Where is it going?  

What is its destiny?  

Is it destined to die in the heap of wrecked trains?  Or is it 
destined to ride the rails of greatness?  Does it matter?  Does it really matter where the writing takes me?  Does it matter where my writing takes you?  Do you want to ride the rambling freight of runaway thoughts?  Do I want to ride the train?  

I have no choice because my fingers insist on typing.  Click click clicking away at the keys.  Frantic fingers.  Dancing fingers.  Fingers that have no boundaries.  Fingers that won’t tire even as the rest of the body screams that it is time to rest.  sleep.  so tired.  Yet, the fingers type endlessly.  Purposefully.  Nonsensically.  Nonsense - and still they type.  Still they type beyond the cramping beyond the call to stop this silliness.  

“I am not a writer!” I shout to the fingers. 

“Yes, yes you are!” they say.  “You are a writer because you belong to us and we belong to you and we will not stop typing. Typing is what we do.  It is what we love.  It is what we live for.  We live to type meaningless words or worthy words or funny words or sad words - any words.  That is what we fingers do and that is what we love.  We fingers are the writers - the typers of great and wonderful words.  The typers of powerful and sad words;  happy words like love and joy and peace.  Silly words like Horace Hobbersnipple and dancing squirrels and the like.  We are the writers - you just supply the brain!”

“Ok, fingers” I scream, “the brain says stop.”  

“Ha! No! Not yet! We’re not done!” they punch back.  “We’re just getting warmed up.  We are happy fingers.  Happy to be pecking.”  


STOP!” I scream.  

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.”  They mock.

“Stop typing!” I beg.  

I beg, you beg, we all beg for ice cream.  Still they type.

“Please stop!”  I holler from the back of my brain.  

I holler, you holler, we all holler for ice cream.  My fingers continue to mock me.  They go on and on and on.  They know I’m tired and yet they type.  Why?  What do that want to say?  

“Say it!  Say it@  Say it!!!!”  

“No.  Not tonight.  Not yet.  Soon.  Soon we’ll say what has to be said.  Soon - when the inside meets the outside and the two become one.  When you know for certain that you are a writer and writing is you.  That you feel it inside and out.  That you become one with yourself - your whole self.  When your fingers and you become one and work together to create the writing that is in you and around you and through you.  Then, we will say it together.  Soon.  Soon you’ll be ready to say it.”