I read an interesting article yesterday about David Hockney’s definition of ‘beautiful‘ and then, as the world tends to turn, I experienced it for myself:

I was on my way to the car, to read my book while Kenny finished coiling up cords and putting away instruments and microphones. Lisa, a friend from my Earth Fare days, grabbed my hand and pulled me over to a large van parked outside Hamilton Community Church. “Don’t you just want to take this out to the community and feed people! Its all set up for food service!” I really, really did. We climbed in to look it over, and another family came in. “Pray with us, so we can get this program going!” Lisa said. Whoa, there.  I am all about helping people in my community, but I am more private when it comes to spiritual practices.  But I couldn’t get off in time to get out of such an uncomfortable scene, as more people came in to the narrow kitchen to have a look, blocking the doorway. So there was nothing for it but to join hands, and Lisa prayed, and the father prayed, and then the little boy asked if he could pray. I heard him say something like this:

Dear Um Jesus I just wanted to say I’m happy, and I’m sad, but I want to be mostly happy, even though its sad here sometimes , so that when I grow up I will always be like I am now. I want to always be young like I am now even when I grow up, because I know You want me to be like that too and maybe I can help other people be happy too.   

He continued on until I thought my aching heart couldn’t bear anymore, for the memories of my own prayers when I was a little girl, and the stories of how much Jesus loved children, and no wonder!  No wonder he preferred their company over the grinches who say they follow him.

Every word he said wrung out my scaly, dry, rusted out soul until the tears poured down my face, even after the ‘amen’ and I could finally disembark.

The serendipity of the moment and the deeply felt emotions can only be described as beautiful.  Beautiful, for the longing it stirred up, to have a heart like a child’s heart again.

I realized yesterday that if there is one particular goal I have for my mucking around in clay, it would be to stir up a moment of longing like this.  To feel, and desire, and scrape a little of the waxy remnants of one’s childlike determination to bold and happy and helpful.

If only to remember,” I once believed in something beautiful”.

I wonder if enough grace exists to re-inhabit such a place.


About genieearle

I make things in my tiny studio called Claywise, as I try to understand the world I live in, and what it means to be human. I have 4 amazing offspring who are making their own paths, and I am currently an outpatient counselor at a drug and alcohol rehab center, where we do expressive arts in group therapy. View all posts by genieearle

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