Last month, I got a call from Dawn Roh, with Chamberlain’s Children Center. Dawn passionately told me about her vision to transform an old home into a Health and Wellness Center for the children. She then asked if I’d create a small mural for the center by mid-December.
I wanted to help but I was already booked solid through the end of the year. Murals take me a lot of time to complete, and all I had to give was an afternoon. Still, I really wanted to help. And then I asked her, “What if I shared an experience with the children, and that experience focused on love? What if we projected the word LOVE on the wall and the children painted it”
Here’s what I proposed:
We’d project both physically and spiritually, the word LOVE on the wall. I’d trace the outline so that the children would have a guide, and the children would then paint and fill the word/wall/room with love.
These kids need a lot of love. Chamberlain’s Children Center is a center for children ages 6-17 who have experienced unspeakable trauma. Here’s their Mission Statement:
Chamberlain’s Children Center is a child and family service agency that teaches and heals children & families who have experienced trauma. Children become socially competent through strengthened family connections, access to resources, and the ability to express difficult thoughts and feelings.
Dawn was thrilled with the idea, and the afternoon of Big Love was scheduled.
I started to set up and we ran into a little glitch. The skylights prevented the room from being dark, so we built a fort around the wall with exercise mats. That helped us see much of the projection but not all. I decided to just freehand the rest of the drawing.
The kids arrived by “houses”. Each house was to paint a letter. I knew some of them were afraid to get started. I made it clear that they could not make a mistake. That the outline was to only serve as a guide. That if they painted out of the lines, that just meant that love was growing. That there were no restrictions on how big love could grow. The only rule was to think about something they truly loved before they started to paint.[slideshow]
Almost everyone participated. ( The experience was purely voluntary.) Some dove in, others were timid. As they painted, each letter expanded and by the time they got to the E, the love was large.
Oh it was such a beautiful experience. One child even kissed the wall.
In the end, the children presented me with a wonderful bag they had decorated and Sock Monkey slippers! (I’ve no doubt Dawn found the slippers :O) These children have big love.
We need a bigger wall!