I actually do write more than I ever post because the stories are hard to write and even harder to share online...
I often choose art as my therapeutic outlet. I remember in my first years of working in the barrio and struggling with where to start as a teacher, my dearest and most respected colleagues suggest art. Art? Not reading or literacy or math? The argument was that part of poverty was not only a lack of material items and education, but beauty --and there is a strong need to surround oneself with beauty as it grounds us and fills us with peace….hmmm.
We are created in God’s image, and he is a creator—a creator of grand beauty. He is a restoring God making beauty even from the ashes. So I took my lead from Him and began this year with a focus on art. It’s true the kids seemed to be more grounded and relaxed and pensive. They took pride in their work and we honored it by mounting and displaying their pieces. What I did underestimate was it’s power for restoration as it provides a time to talk, share and reflect.
For example the other day as we sat with our materials in front of us with the little girls (our most restless group) they began to share about a scene they had seen the day before involving one of our students. She had been swearing was being taken down the hill to get a beating. When her grandmother encountered her on the hill she began to scream and beat her in front of many of the girls telling the story. She beat this little girl until she was bleeding and wet her pants. The children thought she was going to die.
We took a couple minutes to talk about how that made them feel and then they led the sweetest prayer….” Lord thank you for saving _______, Thank you for not letting her grandmother kill her. Thank you for protecting her and protecting us. Lord give ________ a pure heart and take away all the bad words.”
We noticed that their drawings that day were dark and yet beautiful. Much like this beautiful mess of a world we live in. We are grateful for the chance to share these times with these precious little ones. We pray that God restore and heal their souls and bring peace that only He can give.