I am a terrible keeper of things, and I recently had to purge my study of papers, trinkets and all manner of “stuff”. I found so many things from when my grandchildren were young - their first drawing, their first handwritten word, stories and paintings galore.
I smiled that nostalgic Grandpa smile and shared my joy with the grandkids, who were amazed that this was their work. They seem to have forgotten, even in their very short lives, that they were not born being able to do the things that they can do today.
Children are wonderful beings to watch. They grow in size and in capacity so very quickly. One moment they are just a babe in arms, the next, they are towering above you. One moment they are learning to speak, then, next, they are using their inordinately large vocabularies to argue sometimes against you, and often for you and that, I guess, is how it is meant to be.
My four year-old grand-daughter Iona loves art. She, like most little kids, loves expressing herself through drawing and painting and sees not just paper but the whole world around her as her canvas. Last year her Dad was trading in his car and did a fantastic job of cleaning it, inside and out, until it sparkled. On one last car journey before going to the car dealership, Iona took a pen and wrote her name in huge letters across the interior door panel. When her Dad lifted her out of the car, to his horror he saw the writing! The best part was that the mischievous Iona denied it was her - even though she’d written her own name!
We all have an inner desire to make our mark. People of all ages got a chance to do this a couple of years ago at the Tate Modern. A Japanese artist built a completely white room there and she invited guests to take a sheet of coloured stickers and walk through the room placing them anywhere they wanted. By the time hundreds of people had visited, the formerly white room was anything but - there was barely a blank space left; it had become an explosion of colour.
The book of Genesis says that when God created the world He started with a blank slate - a dark, empty canvas. God spoke and light exploded, colour filled the sky. At the sound of His voice creatures came to life; birds, beasts, people. Christians believe that human beings are made to mirror and reflect God’s image, so if He’s a Creator, we are mini-creators. Like Him, we’re made to speak into the darkness of the world around us and create light, life and colour. As four year old Iona demonstrated, the desire to leave our signature on the world around us begins very young! I hope she never forgets to leave her mark – but maybe not in her Dad’s car…