I survived Paint Night.
Last week I saw that a Facebook friend had confronted his fear of heights by jumping out of an airplane, so my big leap is exceedingly puny by comparison. Still, I claim victory whenever I stick a toe outside my comfort zone.
I’d had such a whiny attitude about the whole thing that I prayed for a better one as I drove to church that night. I didn’t want my perfectionism and its traveling companion, pride, to ruin the evening.
I gradually realized I didn’t know what success would look like. So as God and I talked about it---no, I didn’t hear His voice, but whenever I get good ideas that are completely foreign to me I’m sure they’re coming from Him---I began to see what I really wanted: To be a person who was more concerned with the quality of my time with the other ladies than with the quality of my painting. So that was my prayer as I walked into the Fellowship Hall. (Thank goodness it was a 20-minute drive.)
It didn’t take long to see that most of my fellow class members were just as skittish as I was. Our confidence was further diminished when our teacher, Stephanie, showed us the picture we were going to replicate, along with an example by her daughter. Her 10-year-old daughter. It looked identical to her mother’s.
Sweet fancy Grandma Moses.
Stephanie patiently guided us through the mixing of brown paint then showed us how to create a sandy beach. Paintbrush poised above the pristine canvas, I had a thought:
Paintbrushes don’t have erasers.
There would be no going back if something weren’t perfect. Which it wasn’t going to be. But I dove in anyway.
And the water was fine.
I can’t say I didn’t have any moments when I wished I could have had a do-over. But as we went along I found myself encouraging my classmates, telling them not to fret about every little detail. We all laughed and groaned as we tried this new thing.
When I returned home I asked Mr. Pettit what my painting depicted. He said, “An anchor.” Never mind that I had told him that’s what we would be painting; he swears he would have said that anyway.
He insisted on hanging my “artwork”---I feel the quotation marks are necessary---where he could see it every day. He says it makes him smile because it brings me to mind.
Now that's perfect.