While at FST I worked closely with children ages 4-11. My work with these children proved to be highly illuminating, joyful, and exciting.
Here is what I learned. Enjoy!
The rain started innocently enough. Tiny droplets cascaded down our cheeks and danced between our toes as a gentle breeze kissed the waiting ocean. Remnants of the sweet, salty air hung heavy inside our nostrils, warning us of the torrential downpour that was to follow. The children and I huddled inside the darkened theater faces pressed against the glass, waiting for their parents to arrive.
The rain, once sweet and gentle, now threatened to engulf everything it came in contact with. A brilliant clap of thunder greeted the darkened sky and several streaks of lightening soon followed. The children and I remained silent, transfixed by the beauty of mother nature.
As the intensity of the storm began to wain, parents slowly arrived. One by one the children said their goodbyes and ventured out into the thick balmy heat. Heavy drops of rain fell along their shoulders but they didn't seem to care.
One by one, the children began to dance in the rain. They laughed and twirled with arms outstretched. Smiles of joy warmed their faces and infectious giggles escaped their lips.
Their parents savored the site and refused to intervene. Somehow, we all sensed the sacredness of this moment, it was the stuff that memories were made of.
As the rain picked up momentum, David , a four and a half year old screamed: “Look Miss Nicole! A waterfall!” I turned my head and observed rain sliding down the roof of the building and briskly hitting the ground below.
Yet, when I softened my gaze, I could indeed see David's waterfall. The theater was replaced by a tropical rain forest. Lush vegetation and exotic animals surrounded me, and within seconds, the heavy stone ground became the shallow end of the sea. I stood there, admiring my reflection and silently thanking David for this precious gift.
In that moment, something clicked for me and I understood my purpose like never before. It was and is not the picture we see with our eyes, but the picture we paint with our own minds. It is the courage to laugh, dance, love, and pray in the midst of imagined chaos. That is what makes an artist. Dancing in the rain with arms wide open, blissfully unafraid of getting wet. It is the courage to create, hope, and dream, simply because it fills you with happiness. It is the gift of knowing that you are an artist, even when no one is watching.
So this for the children, Randy, David, Kayla, and Calypso; Destiny, Carlos, Jordan, and Christos. Tiny lives that were intertwined with mine. Souls that were brimming with optimism, truthfulness, and creativity. I now know that you were the ones teaching me.
All Rights Reserved 2010