How To Dream (In Color Again)

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream – C. S. Lewis

*scribble scribble* “ALLLMOOOST…” The sound of a little girl coloring snapped me out of my daze. I had been staring out the window of my airplane seat and dozed off into thought and prayer. Long plane rides tend to have this effect on me. Repositioning myself, I looked down to my right to see a 4-year-old girl sticking out her tongue in determination as she wiggled a tiny, purple crayon back and forth on paper.

“THEEERE!” With a definite, final swipe of color, she lifted her crayon and paused to examine her colorful Disney princess masterpiece. Much to my surprise, she actually did an amazing job of coloring inside of the lines. “Wow, that’s pretty good for someone your age,” I said looking over her shoulder. She shyly looked up at me, then smiled wide with a toothy smile, minus one tooth in the very middle. “You like it?!” “I love it! Where did you learn to color like that?” With excitement, she turned and flung her tiny right hand into her mother’s left hand. “Mommy taught me! Isn’t she the best?!”

Her mom looked at me and smiled. She, however, did not seem to be the type to make small talk, so she looked straight ahead and leaned back to take a nap. Her daughter was quite the opposite. The little girl reached forward to grab her stash of crayons, and then she slowly looked up at me with puppy dog eyes. “Would you color with me?” I laughed. “Pshh! Yes! It’s been forever!” Her eyes lit up as she had found a new friend to join in her creativity. She handed me a pink crayon and sloppily flipped to the next page. I couldn’t tell which princess was on this new page. Growing up with only brothers has apparently robbed me of the joys of princess movies. Nonetheless! I have attained enough life wisdom to not tell this to little girls. “OH! I love this princess!” I said as she replied, “ME TOO! She’s my favorite!”

And so we got to work. With a coloring book between us, we alternated between ferociously scribbling away at the blotches of white within the lines and carefully tracing the bold edges. Coloring was actually very fun, but it could only go so far. I decided to carry on some more small talk. “So, tell me, what do you want to be when you grow up?” Her head shot up! “A princess! But not when I grow up, silly! I am a princess!” “Ah! Of course, your Highness, kind of like this one, right here?” She looked down at our artwork. “No, no, no… Much better! Daddy said I was the best princess there ever was! He gave me this for my birthday! He said,

Sweetie, you are a princess! You’re the best and most beautiful princess this world has ever seen. And every princess needs to color like a princess and learn from princesses before her, so be very careful to choose the right colors and color inside the lines! Don’t be afraid to go slow. Take your time. I can’t wait to see what you’ve done when I see you again!

“And where’s your dad?” “Oh, you know, fighting bad guys!” She nonchalantly looked back down to keep on coloring. Her quick scribbles, however, grew slower and slower as she added, “Yeah, bad guys… they sure take a long time to beat…” My attention was stolen by her mother taking a deep breath, sitting straight up again. Her closed eyes twitched, and I could tell that tension was building. Yet somehow this little girl had a way about turning this around. “It’s okay, though! Daddy promised he’d come back! And I have this to show him how I’ve been learning to be a better princess!” She glanced up at me with a reassuring childish smile and looked back down to keep on coloring. The best deduction I could make was that her father is in the military.

I proceeded to aid her in her coloring venture for a good while longer. Every now and then, she would give me direction on how I ought to be coloring. “NO, no, NO! Like this!” “Oh, forgive me, your Highness!” “YEAHHH – just like that!” It was quite the humorous plane ride to be sure. In fact, it was one of the best plane rides I’ve ever been on. There’s something refreshing about delving into children’s imaginations and taking part in their take on life.

Eventually, the plane dropped altitude and arrived at its terminal. The air pressure released from the cabin and the relief of all the passengers could be heard as everyone began to stand and grab their belongings from the above compartments. We were going to be standing up soon, so I handed the pink crayon back to the little girl. She put it into her crayon case. She then looked at me with a dignified look (as dignified as a 4-year-old can look), looked down at our finished product, then proudly said, “This is yours!” She attempted to rip the princess coloring out but failed at first try, so she put more leverage into the action, and managed to tear it out. I took it from her and said, “Ah thank you very much, your Highness!” as I received her prized possession, folding it and sliding it into my pocket.

As we stood up to leave the airplane, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. The little girl followed her mom down the aisle with a subtle limp. How could I have missed it? The little girl had a prosthetic leg! I grabbed my luggage from the compartment above me and then quickly followed after this little girl and her mom. I caught up to them before we walked into the main terminal, but I would have never expected the following scene. The mother and little girl came to a sudden halt at the entrance of the waiting lobby, and the other impatient travelers streamed around them. Confused, I looked over the mother’s shoulder and saw something in the distance: something strong, something brave, something… camouflage!

A tall soldier stepped forward in the oddest way. A small step, a big step, a small step, a big step. The little girl began slowly stumbling forward in likewise fashion. A small step, a big step, a small step, a big step. “Daddy!” “Princess!” The distance between them diminished in the most irregular, picturesque way as he swept her off her feet and swung her in a circle. In the excitement of swinging her around, he almost fell. He wasn’t quite used to his new prosthetic leg.

Tears of joy. Tears of relief. The little girl, being held in her father’s arms, kept on saying, “You’re here! You’re really here!” The mother joined them and the three linked arms and held each other for a good while. “Darling, what happened?” asked the wife, as she looked at his mechanical leg. He paused and then choked out the words. “There was a good friend… who – well, a grenade that got thrown into our bunker, and he pushed me out of the way before he threw himself on top of it.” “Daddy…” said the little girl with her arms still wrapped around her dad’s neck. “Yes, Princess?” “Is that why you’re back with mommy and me? Because of him?” The father held his daughter in front of him, taking in the blessing of seeing her again.  Then pulling her back in close he said, “Yes, because of him...”

It was getting more difficult to maintain my own composure. I could barely pull myself away from the scene. So gripping the straps on my backpack, I tried to walk by as if nothing was happening. Then I heard a little voice from behind me shout, “Wait!” I kept on walking. “WAIIIT!” This time my feet couldn’t go any farther, and I turned around to see this little girl stumbling towards me. Before I could react, she flung her arms around me and hugged me tightly! I let my arms wrap around her in return as I looked up to see her father smiling with his wife clinging to his side. He didn’t know who I was, but he knew that I somehow carried a significance in his daughter’s heart.

The little girl whispered into the hem of my coat, “Thank you.” I looked down in confusion. “For what?” Her little head raised as she smiled that same childish smile from before.

For helping color in my dreams, silly…

My vision began to blur together as the little girl became distant. The back of my head suddenly took on a weight which I couldn’t explain. “Huh? What’s going on?” It got heavier and heavier until I felt myself tipping backward in the strangest way. I let go of the little girl, reaching for something to keep my upright, but instead, I actually fell straight back into my bed!

“NO!…” I said under my breath staring up at my bedroom ceiling with wide eyes. “Was that really?!…” My eyes scrunched and my hands smeared my face up and down in frustration. “It just had to be…” So with a deep breath and a moan, I rolled over, then picked up my phone from my bedstand to check the time: 2:45 a.m. Ugh. The dream was detailed enough that I couldn’t fall back asleep. My mind kept on chewing over the nuances of everything about it. The more I did this, the more something began to unfold.

Over time, God gives each of us a “coloring book” detailing our hopes, goals, visions, and dreams in life. To begin, it is a step of faith to believe and trust in God’s love, sovereignty, and omniscience that He knows what is best for us. As we believe what He has revealed to us, we slowly but surely color in our future destinies.

However, we all have very different coloring books! To some God reveals the end goal of one’s life in the first picture, whereas some color in hundreds of pictures before anything seems to culminate. In either case, it is the duty of both to color with childlike faith in God’s Holy Word.

Everyone experiences difficulties or setbacks to their dreams. The ultimate foe is sin. This is of no problem to the Master’s plan. As we draw nearer and nearer to our Lord Jesus Christ, we continuously reckon more and more that He became sin and died with its very essence intertwined with His being. Through this process, via His resurrection and indwelling spirit, He endows us with the blessing of not only giving us dreams, but He lives inside of us to aid in their fulfillment to extents which would have never been dreamed possible.

So bathe in God’s presence and let Him draw the story which will provide the most impossible canvas you could ever imagine. And as you color, remember to have fun and enjoy every detail.

After all, you never know who will sit beside you and also learn to color again!