Sometimes, I do odd volunteer work. This fall, I helped out at a health fair at the zoo. That day, my job involved face painting. I guess, since I’m a writer and artist, the powers that be assumed that I could draw. I can pull off something abstract, but as for balloons or hearts or cartoon spiders, I have to say, I was more than concerned. I cracked my knuckles, preparing.
Tons of kids showed up. Painting faces is harder than it looks. You must have the steadiest hand. I don’t have a steady hand. At times, I tremble.
One girl wanted a collage of hearts. Most kids wanted “Who-dey!” One boy wanted a caterpillar. His dad went, “Uh, get the spider instead.” I watched the boy’s eyes dart to the picture of a pink whale. The boy looked at me, confused. Poor kid, I thought. I gave him a spider-caterpillar, and both seemed semi-happy.
Then a spindly, brown-skinned, gorgeous, tiny girl picked the red rose for her right cheek. Big-eyed, she asked, “Can you put God on the other?”
I smiled all teeth and told her I needed more practice for that one, but I gave it a shot anyhow, a big, fat “G-O-D is here” with a smiley face. That was the best I could do on short spiritual notice.
How would you paint a picture of God on a child’s cheek?