Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ask For Humility, And Thou Shalt Receive Humiliation

There's a joke that you should never pray to receive patience in adversity or humility.

This is the reason why:

In art class on Thursday, we cut out pictures of people from magazines. Then we taped out a square on the picture. I don't mean a grid, I mean a square- like a grid. The inside of the square was the same size, according to ratio, as the drawing pad. That meant that everything inside that square should go on the paper. Before we started drawing, we turned the pictures (everyone had their own) upside down. The purpose of this exercise was to show how well we could draw proportions when we couldn't see what it was we were actually drawing.

I went into this exercise strong and fearless. I felt like one of those billboards for the Marines: the few, the proud, the totally-done-this-before. Because I have done something like this. You take a picture, turn it upside down, and draw the shades of light and dark until you run out of picture or paper. But when I did it, the point was to practice drawing light and dark. Getting the picture to fit exactly on the paper-no white margin and no chopped off heads because I drew too big- was a completely new kettle of fish. (Why on earth would you cook fish in a kettle? Fry it, man. With lots of butter.)

I drew a line. It was completely off. I erased it. I drew another line. I erased that one too. I drew and erased for about an hour, until I had lots of erased lines and no picture. I started to cry. Not because I wanted pity or anything, but because every time I put charcoal on paper, it was wrong, I could tell it was wrong, I could see it was wrong, I could feel that it was wrong- but I couldn't see how to make it right. I was extremely tempted to leave the class, hide in the bathroom, and not come out until I knew everyone would be gone. But I enjoy pain and humiliation, so I stayed. And oh, the humility I keep asking for- I was swimming in it. I couldn't even ask anyone for help because I knew the minute I started talking, I was going to dissolve in noisy, slobbery, incoherent, even more humiliating sobs.

At last the teacher came by when I was struggling with the head and showed me how the head happened to be in the center of the page, with the same amount of space on either side. With that, I managed to get the head right. And everything followed from there. I still need to work on it before Tuesday, but it will no longer break the Geneva Convention to make my classmates critique it. Ask and thou shalt receive. Even if you would actually really rather not.

Chicken update: the little red hen survived, but now that we've figured out how to fox-proof a coop, we're stumped as to what to do with her. We can't merge her with a new flock- ours or someone else's- because chickens will peck to death any strange freak they find among their number. We don't want to slaughter her because that's a lot of work for just one chicken. Messy, stinky work. We might give her away, complete with fox-proofed coop, to one of the neighbors, since we need to make a brand new coop for the next batch anyway. That's all still up in the air.

During fast and testimony meeting, someone mentioned how tolerant and kind their husband is because he doesn't care if all there is for dinner is pancakes, so long as there's something. Immediately- being slightly hungry- I decided that sounded wonderful. So we're having pancakes, ham, and eggs for dinner. And we might make bacon too, since we'll be making a mess anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, I love pancakes for dinner. (The kids like chocolate chips in there. What a good mom I am!) (;

    I am careful NEVER to pray for patience or humility. I get enough practice as it is! I'm glad that - eventually, at least - the teacher came over and helped you out, and that you're feeling better about how it's going. At least you have the comfort of knowing that you draw *really well.* (I draw stick figures. I'm trying to imagine myself in art class. It's a stretch.)