One day, my daughter decided to get out our bin of markers and test which ones we should keep and which ones we should toss. She organized a little workspace for herself, creating three different piles - “markers to test”, “markers to keep” and “markers to throw away.” With a blank piece of paper in front of her, she conducted scribble test after scribble test, carefully assessing each marker’s fate.
After about an hour, the job was done. She threw away all of the markers that failed the test and returned the keepers to the proper bin in our craft cupboard. Her working area was tidied up and she handed me the paper she’d been scribbling on.
“This is beautiful!” I said in awe.
“Mom, it’s just what I was using to see if the markers were good or not,” she replied with a face of confusion.
I walked into our craft room to hang it on the gallery wall. This confused her even more.
Like many of you, for months it has just been us and the house.
The house and us, along with many of the feelings we know to be hard and uncomfortable.
Sadness. Disappointment. Frustration. Anger. Fear. Anxiety. Loneliness.
Unlike happy moments that leave us content where we are, difficult emotions often urge us to go beyond ourselves and our homes - something that is nearly impossible during the COVID-19 pandemic. With nowhere else to go, us and the house, we’ve had to find comfort in the things we’ve had all along.
The first flower of spring.
A chipmunk in the yard.
The smell of clean clothes.
Tea, steeped to perfection.
The last puzzle piece.
An unexpected nap.
A tidy kitchen.
The coffee pot, brewing.
Jammies from the dryer.
Sunbeams on the hardwood floor.
I can’t think of anything more mundane than testing markers. Scribble test after scribble test, the process is uneventful and repetitive. Especially for an energetic seven year old.
“This is beautiful!” I told my daughter in awe, as she handed me the testing paper.
“Mom, it’s just what I was using to see if the markers were good or not,” she replied.
But I don’t look at this paper and see a page full of scribbles. Instead, I see the outcome of normalcy and routine, a reminder of joy in the ordinary, and a symbol of beautiful perseverance.
I see something we can turn to time and time again.
I see a way through the feelings that are hard and uncomfortable.
I see art.