Carefully, we opened the rectangular box and marveled at all of the choices. Priscilla was anxious to get started, fidgeting in her seat during the brief explanation of how to first dip in water and then in one of the smooth dry ovals, swirling the slender brush until a pool of paint magically appeared. My daughter chose red. She whirled and twisted the bristles of the brush, splayed out like a fan in the now soupy tray of watercolors. That first stroke is always the brightest, and she squealed with delight when it christened the crisp white paper with a crimson imprint. Her canvas called out to her then to be covered, from edge to edge with a rainbow of vibrant hues. If one shade could be so beautiful, she figured, than five different shades would surely be five times more magnificent.
I knew what would happen, even as she dipped her brush with excitement in blue, then green, and then violet. But my Priscilla is a stubborn little thing. Why waste my breath on words that would never be heeded? Sure enough, the layering of colors did not produce the iridescent masterpiece she had been hoping for. Each new addition to that sopping wet montage of a painting only muddied the original glory of red into a nondescript grayish brown. It was obvious, by the scowl on her tiny face, that she was disappointed with the final result. “Sometimes less is better,” we decided.
At the base of my heart lies imprinted, an innate desire for God. That crimson seal, passed down from Adam, christened my existence with majesty. This desire, so brilliant and clear, is what separates me, as a human being, from every other created thing in the universe. I have been marked as one destined for holiness. While I have never attempted to disregard the seal completely, I regularly try to enhance it with a montage of my own. There are so many stunning choices calling out to me from the supple lips of intelligence, attractiveness, comfort, and notoriety. Glossy, luminous choices I just know would layer with equal brilliance upon my spotless mark, and innate purpose for living.
With well-meaning excitement, I dip into pursuits not directly opposed to that purpose, but distracting enough to camouflage its purity. All I want is a house that isn’t falling apart, a future not marred by tragedy, a name for myself within morally upstanding circles, a few moments of quiet to refuel and unwind from the hours I have spent trying to secure all of the above. Why does the stress of juggling these goals tend to leave me antsy and on edge? Why are the interruptions and closed doors so frustrating? Why am I never satisfied? I search within my soul for any clues or clarity, and I see it – glimpses of majesty peeking out from under the pile of pursuits meant to complement my life, but instead have merely muddied and complicated a straightforward calling to be holy. And I scrape away the mess of grayish brown in search for the original glory of red, my crimson seal.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Blessed are they who view every conversation, joy, setback, and tragedy as a chance to point back to Christ’s goodness. Blessed are they who strip away their many layers until only God’s will remains. Blessed are they whose faith is untainted by fruitless distractions. I am so tired, anyhow, of my self-created burdens, may my restless heart find freedom in letting go.