By Kristeen A. Bruun
I have fallen victim to the adult coloring craze. I have heard that it was discovered to be a soothing activity for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, and from there spread to the general population.
I enjoy playing with art in general. I once attended a workshop in which the presenter asked for a show of hands, “How many of you are artistic?” A few hands went up. The presenter then reminded us, “I did not ask, ‘How many of you have a picture hanging in the Louvre?’” And he went on to explore with us that artistic ability is an intrinsic characteristic of being human, one of God’s gifts.
That reflection took away the idea that I had to be “good” at art. So I can enjoy coloring, and some other artistic pursuits, without being concerned about winning some kind of internal competition. It took me a long time to acquire this attitude.
Now I find coloring to be relaxing, a way to do something while doing nothing. If I need to mull over a question, I can turn the question over to my subconscious while choosing among my 96 crayons to color a picture. It’s surprising how often an answer emerges even before the picture is completed.
I’ve learned something else while coloring. Colors change according to what color is next to them. I’ve never liked yellow, for example. I never wear it because I don’t think that I look good in it. But yellow on a coloring page is important because it makes all of the other colors pop. So I don’t have favorite colors any more. Each one brings something unique to the page.
The idea of colors changing according to placement made me think about where I usually sit in church. I often sit next to Charlotte. I like it there because we both are compelled by our aches and pains to sit during the standing parts of the service. We can chat about our arthritis and know that the other person understands all too well.
But last week I sat next to Abby, a one-year-old. Abby’s favorite parts of church are flirting with her seatmates (I loved that), and “writing” on the bulletin. She did not choose to decorate the children’s bulletin. Even at one, she knows which bulletin was the “important” one. I love sitting next to both Charlotte and Abby. Each one offers a different gift for my soul.
I ask myself, if I sit next to Jesus, will I come to look more like him? I take out my Bible and read a passage, mulling it over in the same way that I choose a crayon, asking the Holy Spirit to continue to transform my life.
Color me yours, Jesus.
On my heart imprint your image,
Blessed Jesus, King of grace,
That life’s riches, cares, and pleasures
Never may Your work erase…”
Lutheran Service Book, 422
Editor’s Note: the Holy Week resource originally designed for sheltering in place that first COVID Easter is still available for download. Add some coloring pages to your Easter experience: