Home » Rambles » Finger-painting and leaving church

Finger-painting and leaving church

I finger-paint. I’m 45, and I finger-paint. I admit it. I’m getting in touch with my inner 5 year old – but I’m skipping the tantrum part. In fact, by finger-painting, I’m doing my best to avoid a tantrum.

So far, it is working.

I’m not a great artist. I admire people who can paint or draw better than reality. Right now I’m just learning how to get the paint somewhere near where I intended. That is a good start. I’m trying to be patient with myself. I’m trying to just enjoy the process.

I’ve figured out how to save money on canvasses. I go to Goodwill and buy a large canvas there. I paint over what was on it. So instead of paying $50, I pay $4. Then I don’t feel bad about smearing paint around. It frees me to have fun.

I used to paint on the interior walls of my house, but I’ve run out of space to work. It is a small house. Painting on my walls with my fingers gave me that delicious feeling of going against my parent’s rules. They used to get so upset when I’d draw on the walls. Instead of providing me with paper or canvas, they just yelled at me.

This was my normal.

I’m glad to be painting again.

When I think of it this way, I feel that finger-painting, whether on walls or on canvas, is similar to me leaving church.

I left church when I got chastised by the priest for daring to rethink church. I dared to say that organized religion is in direct opposition to what Jesus meant. I could have gone silent, and played the dutiful, obedient church member. I could have been a drone, like so many others are.

I didn’t stop writing or thinking about what church should be, about what Jesus meant it to be. It just gave fuel to my fire.

Something about finger-painting feels the same. I was told not to, but for no good reason. It wouldn’t have hurt for me to draw on the walls of my room. They could have painted over it when it was time to sell. Heck, I’m the one who had to sell the house. I could have done that. But no, the walls were pristine. Well, except for thirty years of cigarette smoke, staining everything yellow. My doodles were far safer.

I wasn’t given another outlet for my creativity. I wasn’t given a choice. I wasn’t asked. My feelings didn’t matter.

Obey. Obey. Obey. Parents and priests have a lot in common.


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