Iris Carignan in art studio

Erasing the Crayon

My iPhone lit up with a call from a friend who I’d recently re-connected with. I listened as she bubbled over with excitement and a proposal for me. Somehow it seemed to relate to something my mind had been ruminating on for a few weeks.

Recently I’d heard someone say “you can’t erase crayon.” Since then, and much like the medium itself, a thought I had wouldn’t erase from my mind. I kept thinking about how it was a good metaphor for things that get embedded into our hearts—good things and not so good things, colorful things and dark terrible things that never seem to go away. Especially the things that can be colored onto a young child’s heart. As an artist, of course, I also thought about throwing a few strokes of crayon onto a painting.

Knowing something about the properties of crayon, I knew it would have to be placed on the canvas early in the process to work. I also knew that after it was on the canvas (or paper), any other medium like oil paint, pastel or watercolor would be repelled by its waxiness. Then I thought about how life is so like that at times. We may have some new colorful and joyful thing currently happening in our life, but the waxy injuries of some experiences stubbornly resist going away—refuse to be covered up or erased. No, they continue to bleed through even the brightest spots.

Many people struggle for years from emotional and physical pain inflicted when they were very young. Some of the pain continues to plague their hearts and lives, resisting to fully embrace the good when it does come their way. Thankfully my life has mostly been beautiful and blessed, so, why was I still thinking about this paradox three weeks later? Why was a gal like me, (one with a relatively easy life compared to so many), still thinking about not being able to erase crayon? More importantly, was God placing it in my heart for His good purposes?  I wondered.

Then that call came in. She said I’d come to her mind as someone who might be interested in teaching an art class to some struggling young women at a transitional home. Little did she know, I’d been seeking God’s leading to find a ministry where I could use my maturity as a Christian woman as well as my talents, to minister to young women. I also thought about how painting takes me to a different emotional place of peace and beauty.

Bingo! There it was—the metaphor. I was being given the opportunity to teach art to women who had lots of waxy, hurtful experiences that were hard to erase from their life. Those painful strokes on the canvas of their hearts had led them into tough trials and struggles they were still dealing with.

God was leading me to a new way of painting beauty into the life of others. He was going to let me help these dear ladies find a beautiful way to erase crayon. And I pray that this article has brought beautiful color to your day and helped erase your own waxy memories. Please let me know, through your comments on this page, if this spoke to your heart in an affirming, healing, or painful way, that I might pray for you.

Iris Carignan