Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “Don’t Try to Walk before You Can Crawl” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/17/08)
TITLE: The Wonderful, Multi-colored Picture of... Something
By Gerald Shuler
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“Hi, Daddy.” Dan’s five-year-old daughter skipped into the office with a smile that lit the room. In her hand was a folded piece of paper. “Momma’s downstairs waiting.” She jumped into her father’s lap with no warning, almost toppling him backwards in his chair.
“Goodness, girl, slow down.” He smiled broadly and gave her a kiss on her forehead. “What’s the rush?”
“I gotcha’ a present.”
She handed him the piece of paper and held her breath in eager anticipation. Dan carefully unfolded the paper, noticing how each crinkling sound intensified the brightness of Alicia’s glistening eyes. Finally unfolded, he looked carefully at the crayon drawing spread over the entire page. Alicia must have used every color of crayon in her box.
“Well, what have we got here?”
He looked at the chaotic multi-colored picture with exaggerated interest, trying to stall long enough to try to figure out what the picture was meant to be. Alicia frowned, grunted an unmistakable grunt of disapproval and turned the picture right side up. It didn’t help.
“Do you like it?” She touched the picture affectionately in the center. “This is you.”
All Dan could see was a malformed blue circle with a squiggly orange line that he could only assume was a smile. The myriad of colors on the rest of the page was a complete mystery to him but at least he was almost certain the blue circle was him smiling.
“I love it. You made me look very…” he hesitated just for a second. “…happy.” Bingo. Her grin said he had guessed correctly. What a relief.
“It’s for your desk. When I grow up I’m gonna be a famous picture drawer. But this one is for you.” The statement didn’t leave any way out. “It belongs right here.” She put the picture toward the front left side of his desk, making him promise to put it in a frame as soon as possible.
“Could I ask you a question about the picture?” She nodded assent. “Why is my face blue?”
“It’s ‘cause I heard Momma tell the preacher that you’ve been a little blue lately.” Alicia saw her daddy’s eyebrows asking questions. “When I asked, Momma said blue means sad.”
“But you drew a smile on my face…”
“That’s ‘cause the preacher said as long as Jesus is in your heart you will still be able to smile.”
Thirty-two years passed quickly. Dan Hurshing was finally ready to retire. It had been a good, prosperous career but he was ready to be a homebody. Or maybe a carefree world traveler. It didn’t matter. He was ready to retire.
The firm was throwing a farewell party for him in the conference room and, as usual, he was still at his desk taking care of last minute urgencies. He had called Alicia to see if she could come to the party but she had flown to New York to open another showing of her paintings. She had done well with her dream of being a ‘famous picture drawer.’ Collectors around the world treasured her art.
He looked at the wonderful multi-colored picture of life that sat toward the front, left side of his over-sized executive desk. It had taken years, but at last the entire picture had begun to make sense. Back then his life truly was a chaotic mess. But a five-year-old artist showed him that even in chaos Christ gives us cause to smile.
He picked up the picture, the last item to be packed in his box, and headed for the door of his office at Winfield, Turner & Hurshing Law Firm for the last time.
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