Stay in the Lines

As a young girl with red, curly hair, I would hold my mother’s hand as we walked down the street. My little legs would scramble twice as fast because my stride was shorter than hers. In my effort to avoid cracks in the sidewalk, our arms would be stretched out as I scampered and dodged the cracks along our path. I would be saying to myself, in sort of a simplistic cadence-like manner, “step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s back!” I didn’t want any harm to come to my Mother, Grace. Her full name was Grace Crookshank Morgan. Anyhow, that is my earliest memory of always wanting to ‘stay in the lines’. She would say to me, that’s ok if you step on a crack, you won’t really break my back! Whew!

As the days of this pandemic have passed, I decided that I was going to try something ‘new’, and maybe discover a new talent. My paint by number kit came in the mail the other day. WOW! When I unrolled the canvas, I was immediately intimidated at the shear number of areas. Some small, some smaller, some medium sized, some larger, but the vast quantity of areas that needed attention on this one canvas seemed overwhelming. If it were a puzzle, I’m quite sure that there are over 1000, or maybe 1500, or more! I couldn’t even see what the picture was going to be when it is finished! My stress level and blood pressure increased the moment that I looked at this, this ‘thing’ that I thought would bring me peace and rest. As I arranged the canvas on the table, along with the 24 little containers of paint, and four brushes, my eyes darted to the top, bottom, right side, left side of this giant monstrosity with lines everywhere. Where do I begin to find the rest and peace that painting affords others? How do I logically attack this project? Since I’m right handed, I decided I would start in the upper left corner, so that my arm wouldn’t be resting on an area that I had already painted. This seemed reasonable. Each area of the canvas had a number on it that was to correspond with the numbers printed on top of each of the paint colors. Simple enough, even though there were no instructions that accompanied this project. As a person with a little OCD, it made sense to me that number 1 would be the natural place to start. OK… here we go, but which brush to use? Probably the smallest for the smallest areas, and then to move from there. As I dip my brush into the mossy green paint, it appeared that I was on my way to a new adventure. Wonder what this Masterpiece is going to be?

I was immediately transported back to the early instructions of my Mom to ‘stay in the lines’ as I learned to color with crayons, and ‘step on a crack will break your Mother’s back’. My literal mind forced me to very carefully stay within the lines, even when the area between the lines was as tiny as a thread. There are other areas that are much easier to do, now I see why they sent me a few bigger brushes. Most of the 1’s are painted in the far upper left corner, and I’m beginning to want to broaden out a little and notice that there are a lot of 5’s that are beside the 1’s; so let’s jump over and do those, even though that’s out of order. What I noticed almost immediately was that the areas that I may have gone outside of the lines a little bit, where I crossed over the area, where I messed up a little, were automatically corrected with the addition of the new color. The different color smoothed over the slip-up, covered up the mistake, made everything ok, all undeserved.

There is a long way to go on my painting, still can’t determine what the Masterpiece will be. I’m still in the upper left hand corner with different numbers, different colors, and as one color may have ‘crossed the line’, there is another forgiving one that will come by and wipe out the error. Grace… forgiveness… relief… deliverance

Just as we sometimes make errors in judgement, an error of action or speech, that’s ok. God’s creative and corrective paintbrush isn’t finished with us yet. His Masterpiece is still unfinished, we’re still a work in progress. We still have time to say that we’ve crossed the line, and He will wipe it clean. It won’t be seen by Him again. That’s His grace..

There’s a song, ‘Grace, Grace, God’s Grace’.

‘Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace,…’

Thank you Lord, for your Grace that is bestowed upon us every day, undeserved; and for your Grace that meets us right where we are no matter what the circumstance. His Grace will give us his peace amidst chaos, calm and clarity where there once was fear, comfort where there is grief and loss, and love to fill in all the empty spaces. And, God, thank you for my Dear Mother, Grace, who first taught me that it would be okay if I would happen to cross the line a little.

Published by Candy Morgans

Being recently retired from the Healthcare Industry, and the spouse of a retired Methodist Minister, I find some time on my hands, and a strong desire to share experiences and develop relationships with others. God is my driving force, and I have humor and joy in my heart.

4 thoughts on “Stay in the Lines

  1. Loved it. Made me think of your Mom and all the fun times we had. Made me remember the cookies in her walker at the restaurant, Ryan pushing her in the wheelchair down to halls at the nursing and her laughing so much. Great times jumped into my head and I had my afternoon laughs. You will have to show the painting when you get done (maybe next year by the sounds of it. Anyway, enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you should write a devotional. You relate all your stories to a Bible story or verse.
    Would love to see your finished picture . Enjoy, and remember it is Your picture so don’t stress on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this musing seeing that I too have a painting project to begin. I am happy you have started your painting and you have piqued my interest in starting mine. Thank you for your wonderfully written words.

    Liked by 1 person

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