“Gramma, that kid over there hurt my feelings,” Sophia, my six-year-old granddaughter, said while tears pooled in her soft brown eyes. She pointed to a little girl who was laughing and playing in a large sandbox in a park we were visiting. I took Sophia on my lap and asked her what happened. She said the little girl was mean to her. I didn’t know what that meant. However, it was enough to send Sophia running off the playground and onto my lap where she made her complaint, allowed me to wrap her in my arms, and love on her until it was all better.
A few minutes later, another little girl came over and asked Sophia if she would come and play with her. At first my grandbaby shook her head and just looked up at me. I said, “You have a choice to make, baby. You can either go back and play, or stay here on the park bench for as long as you wish. Either way is fine with me. But it is a nice day to play in the sand, and there are lots of other kids who want to play with you.”
Sophia blinked at me as I kissed the top of her head and again assured her that the choice would be honored because I understood how she felt. She jumped down from my lap and went to play. Later, Sophia said she had a great time and was glad she decided to play some more, even though her feelings were still a little bit hurt.
This may seem like a typical scene that often plays out when children are learning socialization skills. In truth, however, it is not uncommon for adults to get our feelings hurt too. This is especially true for artists because the authenticity of our art depends upon our heart’s participation. That means we often put our whole selves out there for the approval, or disapproval, of others. During the past ten years or so, I have acquired a little wisdom on this subject. For what it is worth, I would like to pass this on.
The fact is, we are going to get hurt – in art, and in life. Our choice is really simple. We can get back in the game, or sit on the bench. I have learned that when something or someone, “hurts my feelings,” I can run to my Heavenly Father’s lap, let Him hold and love on me, and pour out my heart and hurts to Him.
In the same way I tried to comfort my granddaughter, God lets me know that my feelings are important to Him, and I can sit in His lap as long as I feel the need. Having someone listen to, and love, me through the hurt is validating. He reminds me there are lots of others who want to play with me. Personally, I love God’s timing. It never fails that in those low points of pain and confusion, He sends someone to help me suit up and get back in the game.
Truthfully, there are times when I need to hang back and do a little healing before walking back onto the playing field. But getting back in the game is an essential goal for my art, my ministry, and my life. There really are times when I simply just have to play hurt. The hurt will pass, but so will opportunity to minister to others in this hurting and confused world. I don’t want to miss the chance to do my Father’s work while I am here.
Like everyone else, there are days when I do not want to walk, or run, back out and take a chance on getting hurt again. So what do I do when that wee, nagging voice says I should just stay down and protect myself from another possible injury?
That is the topic of my final offering in this four-part series. It is called, “What Say You?” Until then, see you on the playing field and remember, I truly do luv ya.
Copyright February 2014