A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child’s work. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.
The girl replied, ‘I’m drawing God.’
The teacher paused and said, ‘But no one knows what God looks like.’
Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, ‘They will in a minute.’
This was from one of those mass-mailed forwards. We all get them by the dozens each day and delete them with equal rapidity. I do too.
I don’t know why this got stuck in my head though. Usually I don’t even read the forwards. This one, I not only read, but even copied this joke. It has buzzed around in my head all day.
If one wanted to be argumentative one would say- The teacher was talking through the back of her head. Everyone has a picture of God… and everyone believes their picture is the most accurate. Perhaps, (one would argue) the teacher should have said, “But there are too many pictures of God… which one will you draw..?”
But I am digressing from what I wanted to say here. I want to stay focused on the child’s reply- partially cutting off the strings of the context in which the reply was made. Yes, I can do that at will; I can block out certain parts of the whole and bring the relevant part into focus.
When I read this joke (?), a vivid image rose behind my eyelids. The image of a four year old sitting on her tiny chair at school. She sits with a few more children placed at a round table. The kids boisterous, happily busy creating a pandemonium. The room is decorated with child art and the furniture is in the shape of vegetables and fruits all painted with impossibly garish colors- chipped and fading. The child’s curly hair frames her intense little face. She sits at the table detached from the noise and bustle erupting sporadically around her. A medley of stubby, misshapen crayons are spread on the table before her as she bends over her drawing notebook. She doesn’t look around, her concentration is total, a tiny frown creasing her smooth brow. She nibbles the end of her pencil, engrossed and focused.
She is intent on her own creation, oblivious to the world; it doesn’t exist for her. She has decided to draw God.
it doesn’t really matter what she will draw. Whether it would be a Shiv-ling or a blue Krishna with his flute, a crescent moon or a man on a crucifix, Shakti or Ganesh.
I arrested my flight of imagination zeroing in on the moment when the child decided to draw God. I made myself the child. I imagined someone asking me what I was doing. When I tell them, they reply me with words dipped in skepticism. I imagined the immense poise and certainly that would make me say in unfazed splendor, “They will in a minute.”
I wish there was some way I could bottle that frame of mind and preserve it for posterity like rare wine. I wish I could take a swig of it at those moments when my faith in myself and in my task was at its lowest. I wish I could anchor that feeling in my psyche and trigger it off at will.
I tried imagining the outcome of a task if I approached it with that kind of unquestioning certainly. I wondered to what heights I might have ascended with that kind of assurance; to be certain that a task was do-able and that I was capable of doing it. I wished I knew how to collect my energies to a focal point within me and not fritter it away in wondering whether my task had ever been attempted before- or what the outcome of that attempt had been. I prayed to reach a place where I would look for no precedence… seek no reassurance. I wished there was a way I would learn to remain focused on a task I had assigned to myself and not let the skepticism of others to distract me or deter me from my path. I prayed that I will learn to bend to my task with a benevolent confidence, knowing the world waits for me to complete it, because no one else is meant to do it but I.
I prayed for the weightless stance and level gaze which are born of a serene inner poise so powerful that I could impatiently look at the world which tried to distract me with its skepticism and say, “Hang on world, I am busy..!”
Don’t be surprised if the Lord sends you to resurrect something, like a dream or a vision… while the world stands idly by, thinking you are wasting your time. Anonymous.
They will (know) in a minute..!
Pic from the internet