Imagine a group of people standing in front of the two photos of old windows included with this blog. There would be a variety of opinions about the colorful presentation on the glass. Some people would consider the paintings quaint, clever, beautiful, attention-grabbing, or a work of art. Other opinions may edge toward dislike.
But no matter how much you like them or dislike them—what you are looking at is a fake. The drawings are representing something that isn’t there—isn’t real. There are no curtains. There is no vase or pretty flowers.
At a glance, the paintings make the world think they are genuine and give the house that lived-in look, an indication that happy times still exist. But they don’t. The pretty, painted windows hide emptiness, disrepair, shabbiness, and promote a lie.
How does this compare to life and people? Some people are a work of art but they are empty inside. Others put up a fancy front and hide hurts. A bold outward appearance may be a cover for insecurity. A jolly laugh might screen depression. The list goes on.
It’s very difficult to learn how to discern what is really behind the established faces. But as we get to know people, we can catch a glimpse of the pain, rejection, and hurts behind the make-believe. God loves the person behind the façade. He doesn’t just look at the outward appearance. The Bible urges us to look beyond the pretense and see the real person, the troubles, and the hurt. God’s word tells us to love everyone, not jump in with rags to clean them up. We can’t assume we have the ability to scrub their grief away, attempt major changes and overhauls, or redo them to suit our standards.
Behind the fancy painted glass there may be emptiness, but you can help fill it with hope and a better life. Ask God to give you the ability to discern when a careful painting is taking the place of a real face. We can express God’s love to those around us by reaching out to them and giving of ourselves.
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~Karen Campbell Prough
From the time I was a little girl, my mother helped feed my imagination. She showed me ways to entertain my younger brothers with stories I made up. Paper dolls became my characters and catalogs became my prized asset. As soon as the catalogs were outdated, I attacked them with scissors. I could create whole families and pair them up as I saw fit. Of course, each couple had to have a baby, no matter how many other brothers and sisters there were in the paper doll family.
Every family needed furniture to sit on and so did my paper dolls. My mother showed me how to cut couches, beds, highchairs, chairs, tables, and rockers out of cardboard. No cardboard box was safe after that. I would grab the cereal boxes and detergent boxes, etc. I could decorate the furniture with crayons, paint, and pictures from the catalogs. I bent the paper dolls at the waist and placed them on the furniture. Babies snuggled down in their baby beds or cradles. Paper doll mommies could rock little children and watch a cardboard television.
If I did not have a catalog to cut up, my mother would draw people for me. My imagination expanded as I cut out the hand drawn figures, colored them, and added them to my collection of make-believe characters. Those times shaped my longing to be a story writer.
My brothers either joined in the fun or sat and watched me play and talk aloud, building stories as I introduced the families of paper dolls. I am sorry to report that dishonorable paper dolls, representing criminals or thieves, met the quick hand of justice. Heads would roll or the cords to the drapes became a hangman’s noose. Sorry … life is harsh in a paper world. The innocent must be protected!
We lived out in the country in Michigan. At that time, we had no television so my imagination became Mom’s babysitter. And even today, I have three, old catalogs stacked on a closet shelf. The tattered catalogs have come in handy when a child is bored with the store bought toys. Cereal boxes are confiscated and made into interesting copies of furniture.
I would rather have children leaving pieces of catalog or magazine pages on the bedroom floor, and using their imagination, instead of sitting in front of the television or sprawled on a couch with an electronic device in their young hands.
Thank you for reading this post. It gives you an idea of where I started with my storytelling and writing. Please, scroll down and leave a comment.
Karen Campbell Prough
© Karen Campbell Prough 2012