My classroom is busy and kind of loud sometimes; people walking in and out, questions, instructions, laughter, donuts and cookies. Sometimes paint gets on the floor, sometimes water jars spill. We run out of paint, brushes become used too much, and every once in a while, someone adds too much water to their brush, and it drips down the painting.
Some paintings turn out amazing and others are a complete disaster. When I pick a painting to teach, I take into account each painter that I anticipate attending. What their likes are, what their ability is, what they can complete in two hours and be proud of. One time I tried to teach painting clouds to a filled classroom, and it was a bit of a disaster.
For some reason, no matter how hard I planned and tried, I totally failed at relaying how to accomplish teaching clouds. I know this because out of about 12 students, no one really liked their clouds. That doesn’t happen very often, and I am sure glad that it doesn’t. But in a way, it was an opportunity for me to revisit some of my own failures with my painters, by what happened right there in our own classroom.
Our Timeline of Life
It’s like that way in life as well, there are stages in our life that we simply are not proud of, cloud classes, so to speak. Ones we would rather not repeat, but stages that we can’t ignore either. Learning experiences. Not to simplify drug use and it’s destruction, but someone once told me… “if you look at the entire timeline of someone’s life, maybe 0-85 years old, and they become an addict and get treatment and help… that timeline will only show a blip on it.” A small dip on the timeline where things were wretchedly out control in those 85 years, where the hardest time of their life occurred and yet the biggest amount of emotional learning occurred as well.
You see, some begin their time with me, having just walked into Victory Bay, they may feel overwhelmed and intimidated, or even just lonely. They are stepping out of a Cloud Class and into a beautiful painting that is still under construction. Moving past that blip on their timeline and moving on to a painting that isn’t finished yet. A masterpiece that is made up of mistakes and failures but one that will be beautiful in the end…. if they choose to learn from it.
Cloud paintings, blips on our timeline, recovery, all of it is a piece of this art we call life and it is all a gift.