Face Painting and Butterflies

Have you ever had your face painted?

When I arrived at the Trunk or Treat from Church a couple of weekends ago, I wasn’t sure what I’d be helping with. I normally help setting up or playing games with the children but this time things went a bit different.

“How are your painting abilities?” Mary asked. She was the official “face painter” for the day and she was getting the table ready. Paints of all colors, brushes and glitter were displayed nicely, but she wasn’t really feeling all that confident. “Sure,” I decided to help, and dove right in.

A little girl was the first in line

She must have been four. With a bright smile on her face and her blond long hair, she was ready to get her butterfly on. I took a shot at this. I had never done face painting before. A few minutes later, my first butterfly was done. I moved on to my next “customer,” he wanted a tiger. Then came another butterfly, and another tiger. After a few minutes the line grew longer, the requests didn’t seem to end. I looked up for a minute and the line of children waiting to get their face painted was so long that Mary decided to join in. “I’ll just copy what you are doing!” She said enthusiastically. We both continued painting faces and before I knew it, two hours had gone by. It seemed like it all happeed in a few minutes.

I’m not going to lie. I was terrified. When you are painting the face of a child the parent is standing right next to him or her. The cell phone often at hand, it’s not a joke for them. The pictures will be plastered on Facebook or Instagram. “No pressure, Ada.” I thought to myself. I sensed some resistance for a minute or two. I thought maybe I didn’t want to be there after all, I didn’t want to be judged too badly if the butterflies didn’t turn out all that great.

In an instant, it came to me

I decided to just focus on the child’s eyes, sitting across from me. I told myself, “what a sweet face,” and I began to appreciate the features in every child’s face. Instead of being critical about my ability to draw a beautiful rainbow in a little girl’s cheek, I focused on appreciating her smile, her dimples on her cheeks as she looked back at me.

Each parent was appreciative, each child was excited. My son was too busy collecting candies, he never made it to the line. I was grateful to be there, to let go of my resistance if only for a little while. Which got me thinking: what am I resisting? Is there something inside that is trying to tell me something. Am I being moved to do something or be somewhere for a purpose greater than my own.

On that Sunday afternoon, after the shift ended, the sunniest among all faces was mine.

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