I have always been that bible school teacher that never let children mix playdough. I have a very Type A personality. There are specific colors for a reason. You can't combine them. Those are the rules. Recently, however, I've been babysitting a little girl named Sira, and she has other ideas about mixing playdough. At first I was like "no, no, don't do that it'll make brown." But she just kind of looked at me with a little grin and whispered, "We'll just combine a little. It'll make magic playdough." And in her eyes I saw what Bob Goff would call whimsy, and so I trusted it.
As you all know, "a little" very quickly becomes a lot with kids, and soon all of the colors were "magic playdough" mixes. At first I cringed, but when I saw how excited she was about mixing the colors and how beautiful she thought it was, I realized she was right all along. It doesn't just make brown. If you do it "the right way," as she so kindly explained to me, it makes "magic playdough." Staring at my massive pile of tie-dye playdough I couldn't help but think to myself, maybe this was the way it was supposed to be.
I've always thought that kids have this beautiful sense of wisdom, just by being kids. As adults we laugh about how naïve they are, thinking ourselves to be wiser, yet they're the ones that live their lives to the fullest every single day. Kids take it one day at a time because they don't know any other way. They play harder, they laugh more and they never pass up an opportunity to tell someone they love them. They see beauty in the mixing of playdough, and they think adults are silly because we just don't know how to play "the right way."
And they are right in that. I think we adults are afraid to play. We're scared of the permanence of the mixing. We're afraid that we won't like the colors that we make, but we can't let that stop us from loving and investing our color in others. Someone might be in need of our color to finish their masterpiece and it is selfish of us to hoard it. God doesn't want us to be one color or even two colors. He wants us to be as many as we can be. And he wants us to understand that mixing is beautiful.
I think that what Sira was trying to teach me with her magic playdough is that it's okay for things to get mixed up. It's okay if you make a little brown, because you also make a lot of beautiful colors. Sometimes we're going to mix with people and we're going to make brown. But we have to remember that that's okay. So much of creation has brown in it, and God called it good. God didn't make us to be these pure colors, he gave us each a colored playdough and expected us to mix with other people. If you look at Creation there isn't anything that is a single color. Even grass has different colors of green. God has been a playdough mixer from day one.
That thought makes me smile because I can just imagine God sitting in the clouds surrounded by huge tubs of playdough as he sculpts the earth. A little green here, a little blue there. Let's throw in some reds, a couple yellows, mix up some purple. And you know what he said when he was finished? He didn't say, "yuck, look at all those spots of brown," he said, "it was good."
I think that when he looks at us from above he smiles at the ways that we've mixed our playdough. Every time you invest in someone else you are giving them a little bit of your color. Every time someone goes out of their way to love you, they are offering you a piece of their playdough to add to yours. Lately I've been getting a lot of "red-hot" red from my friend Kaylin and hot pink from my friend Paige. I've been getting yellow from my roommate Corinn and orange from my best friend Tandy. I've been getting every color of the rainbow from the girls on my hall and the other residential assistants that I work with. And even more colors from my family back home and my church. More than ever before I can feel the colors mixing inside me, and it doesn't make me want to cringe. It makes me smile.
My new goal is to give a little piece of my color to everyone that I meet. When God looks down at me I don't want him to see a bunch of my natural blue-green color. I want him to see purples and reds and yellows and maybe even a little brown. I want to be full of his colors. He's put people into my life to help me become the masterpiece that he intended. He's given me every color that I need to make my own world for him. And when I hand him the work of art that is my playdough creation I want him to be able to look at it and say "well done."