Monday, October 12, 2015

Sisters And Ceilings

In the almost ten years I have written this blog, there is one family I have penned more entries about save any but my own family. It's a big family! Dad is one of our new deacons and mom is our lower school art teacher. The eldest, Katherine Elizabeth, now a freshman at Harding University, has painted two ceiling tiles in my classroom, based on the life of Jesus, no easy artistic feat. Oldest son, Christian, now a Wildcat football player, was rewarded with a five dollar bill from me for going a semester and wearing a belt every day. Margaret, now a middle school cheerleader and my future teacher's aide, began critiquing my clothes as a four year old in kindergarten. Last year, kindergartner Bethany accused me one day of dressing like a girl when my aide Minna picked a pink shirt for me to wear. Bringing up the rear is Gabe, now a kindergarten student who was born short hours after mom, Katherine, did her faculty duty and showed up for a prospective student open house. All these stories have been blogged about with Margaret earning numerous entries. But in a small school, things have a way of repeating themselves and that is the case tonight.

I mentioned earlier that Eddie, the dad, is one of our Westbury Church of Christ deacons which means the family worships with me which means I see them away from school as well as in the hallowed halls of WCS. At our greeting time several Sunday nights back, I walked by the family and saw Miss Bethany hard at work on an artistic masterpiece. I asked if it was for me and on the spot, she decided it was! But it required some fine tuning until it was perfect so I returned to my seat as we continued singing. Several minutes into the sermon, a little girl came running down my pew and gave me her Rembrandt and a hug. Just as abruptly, she ran back down the aisle to her Mom and Dad. For those of us without kids, moments like that are special.

Of course, with my new treasure came the dilemma of where to showcase this piece of perfection. So, one more question for Bethany. She had a ready answer.
"I want it next to Sissy."
I knew what she meant. The aforementioned Katherine Elizabeth painstakingly and time consumingly (new word!) painted both The Last Supper and The Transfiguration on 4' x 2' white tiles which cover 95% of American classrooms. When we give Westbury Christian School tours, the group invariably stops in my classroom and we inevitably speak of our mural of the Life of Christ painted by our AP Art class and the tiles painted by Katherine Elizabeth which are side-by-side above my student desks. Bethany wanted her drawing to be on the ceiling along with those of her sister... and she got her wish. I can foresee when Bethany dedicates the months to painting a scene on tile like her sibling has done. Tiles are meant to absorb, not be a canvas. It takes a dedicated artist as well as a talented one. Bethany has the right DNA.

Siblings are a complicated subset of humanity. When we look at Biblical offspring of the same parents, friction and hostility seem to be the rule more than familial charity; Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Rachel and Leah, etc. Even Mary and Martha display a level of aggravation with each other; well, at least Martha did. Interesting, then, that the scriptures note that the early Christians began the practice of referring to each other in the loving terms of brother and sister. Mom Katherine told me that Bethany is really missing sister Katherine Elizabeth being away at college, perhaps leading to her choice of picture placement. I do know that my level of appreciation for my older brother Dave escalated when we were separated by college. I've never asked my younger brother Scott if his feelings for me evolved when I moved on. But I do know that love and admiration and emulation between sisters is a good thing when the older is emulatable, another new word. My ceiling is living proof.....and in living color.

Applicable quote of the day, # 1:

“A sister is both your mirror – and your opposite.”
Elizabeth Fishel

Applicable quote of the day, # 2:

"Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, they'll still be there."
Amy Li

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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