So, I haven't posted in forever... Sorry about that. Heh, life got crazy. Anyways, I wanted to post this story for you guys. The back story is, this was for a contest. The daily challenge's inspirational word was "Crayon", and I had to create something using a crayon. It could be anything. Writing, drawing, melting... Whatever. And so, I created this.
Hope you all enjoy it!
Author's Note: This is the story of an elderly, African American man named Johan, and his experience while baby sitting his neighbors' three year old daughter, Arlene Farold.
Ya know, I’ve had a lot of things happen to me in my lifetime. Some experiences better than others, I won’t lie. But they were still experiences...
And I won’t lie to you.
Out of all the things that I’ve experienced, all the the memories, all the tests, there is no greater lesson than the one that I learned about a week ago. It all started with a child - a child and her crayon...
You see... the Farolds were going out to a party that night with some of their family friends, and they were in need of a sitter. Why? Because of their three year old daughter, Arlene.
Now, Arlene was a good girl, but I’ll tell you she was definitely a mischievous one. That girl could spin circles around even the most hyper-aware of babysitters. But, oh was she a cute one. As you can imagine (being churchgoers, and neighbors and all), I happily - happily, but warily agreed to watch her for those few hours.
For the most part, everything started out pretty smoothly. I was more than relieved to hear that she’d been out all day with her friends (resulting in her being less-energized than normal). Her parents dropped her off around two P.M., with a bag of supplies and a number where they could be reached if need be. She was thrilled to see her old “Uncle Johan”, and spend time with him. Can’t say that didn’t make me smile, heh heh.
We did some typical things every young kid enjoyed: Spent some time in the backyard, which she couldn’t decide whether was a forest or a jungle most of the time. (We agreed to call it a “Jorest” after some debate.) Eventually she got tired of playing outside and wanted a snack. Feeling hungry myself, I went in and fixed us each a glass of milk and a large plate of oreos.
I remember her squealing with delight when I placed the tray in front of her. I promise you - her eyes were as big as her grin. Her matter-of-fact statement “Momma never gets those, but I love them” earned a chuckle from me.
I started to dip one of my cookies into the milk, when she promptly shrieked and grabbed onto my hand. “That’s not how you do it!” She cried, dragging my hand away from the glass. “Watch, I’ll show you!” She nodded, taking a cookie in her small hands, and breaking it apart. She then proceeded to lick all of the icing off of the two dessert pieces, and dipping them both in the milk. After eating the cookies happily, she handed me one of the oreos. “Now it’s your turn.” She grinned.
Being amused by her antics, and also not wanting to hurt her feelings, I took the cookie and followed her previous instructions. Right down to the milk mustache. She laughed at mine, unaware she had her own. That is, until I told her to look over in a nearby decor-mirror. Gasping-rather overly dramatic, I might add-She rapidly rubbed her arm back and forth across her small face. “Did I get it?” She asked, wide eyed. I responded positively, apparently pleasing her, as she sat back in her chair happily.
A few minutes later, she was resting her chin upon her folded arms, with puckered lips. “I’m bored.” She sighed, emphasizing the word ‘bored’. I shook my head, smiling to myself. Boy, kids these days really did come from an instant gratification generation, huh?
“Well,” I stated, rising from my chair. “How about we check that bag of yours to see what kinds of things your mom thought you should do.” She puckered her lips even more. “Probably addtration (a three-year-old’s mix of subtraction and addition) or those nasty vitamins.” She furrowed her brow, causing me once again to chuckle. “Don’t worry, girl. If there’s anything like that in that bag of yours, we won’t be havin’ any of it.”
Some searching resulted in finding a couple stuffed animals, her favorite blanket, a colouring book, and some crayons. She seemed more than happy to settle down on her blanket and colour for a little while before having to go to sleep, so I spread out the cloth and materials and let her get to work.
I worked on one side, while she worked on the other. It’d been a while since I had done that sort of thing, seeing as my kids were grown and had kids of their own, and momma was with the Lord now. Doesn’t seem all that long ago, honestly.
I was somewhat wrapped up in a daydream when Arlene tapped me on the arm. When I eventually responded, she asked me to hand her the orange crayon. Noticing what she was coloring, I raised a brow in confusion. “Now what would you need orange for? You’re colouring a picture of a hill, with a tree on top, and the sky. During springtime.” I’m positive you could hear the misunderstanding dripping from every word.
Not being phased, however, Arlene simply shrugged. “For the sky.” “The sky?” I pressed further, looking at her incredulously. “But, Arlene, the sky is blue.”
“Not always.” She replied. “Besides, I like the color orange.” Taking a moment to let this sink in, I decided to challenge the young girl just a bit. Curious as to what her response would be, I added, “But, Arly. God made the sky blue. How do you think He’d feel if He knew his little girl was changing the order He made?”
Arlene seemed a bit taken aback by this. She furrowed her brows once more, as though pondering every word in which I spoke. Concentrating, she glanced at her picture, and then at the crayons, also stealing a glance out the window from time to time. The sky was soon to fade into the night, with only a little amount of time before sunset.
Eventually, the young girl’s eyes brightened, as though a brilliant idea had hit her. She looked to me, to her picture, and then back again, grasping a blue and orange crayon within her fingers. “That’s just it, though.” She started, her eyes shining brightly, though her brows still locked in thought. “I think that people have made that too big of a rule.”
“Too big of a rule?” I asked, genuinely curious. She nodded. “Yeah. People think that everything has to be a certain way. Like, girls have to play with dolls and do tea parties, not play outside and stuff like that. But I don’t like playing with dolls that much, and I love going outside. It’s the same way with colors. I’ve always heard that the sky is always blue, and the grass is always green. But that isn’t true! Well, not always.” She emphasized ‘always’ as much as possible.
“God made things lots of different ways. Lots of different shapes, and sizes, AND colors. Sometimes, the grass is brown. And sometimes, it’s yellowish. Sometimes the sky is purple, or grey. Sometimes it’s all kinds of colors! Like when we have to get up for church, and we’re up before the sun is.” She made a face, sticking out her tongue in distaste for the early hours.
“But people only see it as one thing, and then they put a big sticker on it saying ‘this is the right way’, and don’t like it when it’s anything different! But how do they know it’s the right way? ‘Cause God makes things in all different colors. I think God’s an artist. And a very creative one at that. I mean, look at you and me! Your skin is dark, and my skin is light. Kinda like the oreos. We’re different colors, but that doesn’t make us bad. It makes us be-bea-bu- Uh. Pretty.”
Arlene giggled, crossing her legs indian style before continuing. “And besides, I don’t think God would mind if I made the sky orange. If I’m His little girl like you said, and He’s my father, then that would mean I get some of my artistness from Him. So maybe He’s using me to make the world a prettier place. And to get people to stop being so simple. Cause that’s what they are when they are like that. Simple.”
I have to tell you, there was a lot of wisdom in that little girl’s words. It made me think for a pretty long time, I’ll tell you what. As she went back to coloring the sky orange, I sat there, pondering every word that she had told me. It was so simple, yet, there was so much truth.
If you were to really, truly look around you, you could find beauty in even the smallest of God’s creations. I had to marvel at the thought, honestly. It was true, God made things in all shapes, sizes, and colors. People, plants… Life itself was a masterpiece, created by the true Master. We as humans can’t possibly comprehend just how much love he has for his creation, and we can never understand just how much beauty there truly is. We can’t put a limit on God, nor can we creation itself. And it takes the eyes of a child… One so innocent, and pure as this. To have enough faith and understanding only one so young could hold, to see life and love for what they really are.
As I sat there in awe of everything I was taking in, I heard Arlene frantically calling my name. “Come to the window!” She shrieked. Slowly, I got up from my floor seating and walked over to the window. “What is it?” I asked looking out.
“An orange sky!” She cried, beaming triumphantly. Sure enough, sunset had broken out across the sky, painting it in the most fiery colors I had ever seen.
“Well what do ya know?” I smiled. “An orange sky.”