Two Girls & Four Painters

LFM Note: I was fortunate to be invited to read to each of my granddaughter’s classes about four years ago. Instead of reading a book, I wrote my own stories. This one was adopted from a story circulated on the Internet (author unknown) that you will recognize. Our granddaughter Lily loves art. All three of our grandchildren do. However, Lily is all about art and has a gift to draw and cut out three dimensional objects that fascinate us. This story was for her class. I wrote an original story for Lindsey, two years older, when she was in either kindergarten or first grade. This age was great to be around.

When I arrived, the classmates were sitting at their desks. The teacher, Ms. Holland, told me to sit in the rocking chair close to the far corner of the room. I thought I was going to read to the kids at their desks. Then she told the kids to sit on the big rug in front of the rocking chair, literally up against my feet. I have never had such an attentive audience in my life. Legs crossed, chins on their fists, the scene as they peered up at me is a fond memory. Just so you will know the names, Mr. Morris, the Head of of the Lower School just retired at Trinity Christian Academy, the most loved man at TCA after 40 years of service.

I offer this to you as a suggestion to make up your own stories to your young kids and grandkids. I see at least 25 potential stories in the cute and funny Facebook quips and clips you send around every day. The personal touch is appreciated. As with many stories, you can also convey many life-lessons.


 

Two Girls & Four Painters

Lily was not happy. She was rolled into a hospital room two hours after surgery on her leg. They told her she would be staying for about three days before she could go home. She didn’t want to be in the hospital unable to get out of bed. Lily wanted to be home with her paint set. She was happiest when she was painting or creating a craft project.

The hospital room had two beds separated by a wooden wall that went about halfway to the ceiling. One bed had a window and the other bed didn’t. Lily got the bed without a window. She went from being unhappy to being disappointed as could be seen by the frown etched on her face.

“What’s your name?” Lily didn’t realize there was already somebody in the bed on the other side of the room – the side with a window – until she heard the voice.

“My name is Lily. “What is your name?”

“My name is Lindsey. Welcome!”

“I don’t like it here,” said Lily. “I’d rather be home painting.”

Lindsey said, “You’re a painter? I am, too.”

“What do you like to paint?” asked Lily.

“Just about everything,” Lindsey replied.

Lily had brought her paint brushes and some paper to paint on while in the hospital. But she was in no mood to paint. In fact, she didn’t really have an interest in talking to Lindsey. She just wanted to pout. It even bothered her that Lindsey sounded so happy. How could anybody be happy in a hospital bed? Even if you had a window?

Lindsey could sense that Lily didn’t want to be there. She had been there for two days and had one more day before she could go home. The surgery Lindsey had on her foot had kept her in bed, but she was trying to stay positive. She hoped she could get a roommate who was more pleasant than Lily seemed to be.

The day ended with Lily and Lindsey falling to sleep without saying much more to each other. Lily wondered what Lindsey looked like. It was strange talking to someone she could not see because of the wall between them.

The next morning Lily was awakened when Lindsey yelled, “Lily, wake up! Wake up!”

Lily buried her head under the pillow. She wanted to be left alone.

“Lily, there’s a cardinal on the window sill!”

Lily couldn’t resist this comment. The only things she loved more than painting were birds and animals. Any kind of animal! Especially baby animals. Lily couldn’t think of an animal she didn’t like.

“Is it a male with bright red and crest on his head,” asked Lily?

“Yes, and he is very big. He looks like he has just eaten a big meal.”

Lily wanted more details. “What is he doing?”

“He’s looking in the window like a curious neighbor watching kids playing in the street. Except he is looking in instead of out. He is cocking his head back and forth like he sees me but can’t quite figure out who is in our room.”

“Gee,” said Lily, “I wish I could see out the window.”

Then Lindsey told Lily the cardinal had just flown away.

Nurse Stephens and Holland then came in to give the two girls their breakfast.

Before long Dr. Morris came in to check on Lily and Lindsey to make sure their leg and foot were healing from the surgery. Everything was looking just fine.

While Lily had perked up after hearing about the cardinal, she slumped back into her bed and began to feel sorry for herself confined in a hospital bed. The day went by, night came and both girls fell asleep. Lindsey was worried about Lily being unhappy and hoped that the next day would be better.

The next morning started off about like the previous morning. “Lily, Lily, wake up! I can see a dog park from the window. It is Saturday morning with tons of families with their dogs running and playing in the dog park.”

Lily sat straight up in her bed. Without thinking she reached under her bed and pulled out her pad and paints. “Tell me what you see, Lindsey. Don’t leave out a thing.”

Lindsey described the dog park that had many trees. There were also benches where people could sit as their dogs ran free. There was a large oval water pan at one end of the dog park. It was about 3 feet wide and 5 feet long. Next to the pan was a low place where dogs had splashed so much water than it had become muddy.

Lily stopped Lindsey and asked, “What color are the park benches? How many are there? How many people and dogs are there? Tell me more about the water puddle? What color is the mud? Are most of the dogs big or small? Are any of them fighting or all playing?”

As Lindsey started describing the dog park in more detail, Lily started painting. The benches were made of metal with green tops and seats on gray piping. The trees were tall and provided about half sunlight and half shade. There were about 20 dogs of all sizes. They were all playing, many running in circles. The mud was brown.

“What color is the brown,” asked Lily? Reddish brown like a bowl of chili or a dark brown, like a grizzly bear.”

The more Lindsey described the details, the faster Lily painted.

“Lily, there’s a little dog chasing a big dog in circles, and their pathway goes right through the mud puddle!”

“Really? Tell me more” giggled Lily.

Lindsey said Big Dog was lopping along like he was happy with his ears flapping in the wind. It was almost as if you could see a smile on his face. Little Dog was trying to show Big Dog how brave he was, but when Big Dog stopped suddenly, Little Dog slid right under Big Dog’s belly. Lindsey was shouting each movement like an announcer at a football game.

Lily’s giggle turned into a belly laugh. She had to put down her paint brush. She could imagine what the scene looked like. She was laughing so hard that her sides were aching. “Oh Lindsey, please tell me more!”

By the end of the day, Lily had painted three scenes of the dog park. She was exhausted, but it had been a very good day. The evening ended with Lily and Lindsey talking for several hours in their dark room. They both talked about their favorite students at their different schools. They talked about their dreams when they went to high school and then to college. They talked about family vacations. They talked about church. They fell asleep talking about God and their understandings of Jesus and the Bible. They both prayed out loud as they drifted to sleep.

Lily slept so soundly that she was awakened only because Nurse Holland brought her breakfast tray to her. “Where’s Nurse Stephens with Lindsey’s tray?”

“Lindsey checked out of the hospital early this morning” said Nurse Holland. Dr. Morris said it was time for her to return home to continue healing.

“Oh no,” said Lily, “I didn’t get to tell her goodbye.”

Nurse Holland said, “Well, one more day and you can go home, too.”

Lily said, “Nurse Holland, would it be okay if we moved my bed to the other side of the room so I can be near the window?”

Nurse Holland looked puzzled and said, “Lily, why would you want to move? The window looks out to the brick wall of the building next to us. You can’t see anything.”

Lily was confused but then got mad. “Lindsey lied to me! She said there was a dog park she could see. She described it in detail. Here are three pictures I painted after listening to her tell me about what she saw.”

About that time Nurse Stephens walked in to hear the conversation. “Lily, it is impossible for Lindsey to have seen those things. Not only is there a brick wall outside the window, but Lindsey cannot see at all. Lindsey is blind. She has no eyesight.”

There was a silence in the room as the two nurses and Lily looked stunned and just stared at each other. Nobody could think of what to say.

Dr. Morris walked in the room and asked what was going on. There was a commotion as Lily was holding up her paintings and the nurses were trying to explain.

He then started laughing, adding to the shocked reaction to Lily and Nurses Holland and Stephens.

“Don’t you see what we have here? This room has been home to two girls and four painters.”

“What do you mean?” they all three said at the same time.

“Lily paints with brushes and paper. She uses colors and brush strokes to tell a story. The types of strokes she chooses add emphasis to details she wants people to see. The images she forms communicate a message between Lily and the person looking at her pictures.”

“Lindsey, on the other hand, is the second and third painter. She paints in her mind. She does not have eyesight, but the images in her head are clear and have color and details just as vivid as if she had painted them like Lily.”

“Lindsey also paints with her words. She has a rich vocabulary. She is a writer and a poet. Words can describe the details of many things. Not just colors. Words can describe how things smell, feel and sound. Lily, one of your pictures shows two dogs romping around a dog park. I can see fun, I can see action and I can see humor in your picture. You drew that picture that says all of those things from the words used by Lindsey. Neither you nor Lindsey actually saw those pictures until they were put in your heads by words.”

Lily had to think about the different kinds of painters for a few minutes as did Nurse Stephens and Nurse Holland.

Then Lily said, “Dr. Morris, you said there were four painters and described three. Who is the fourth painter?”

“It is you, Lily” Dr. Morris said. “When I talked to Lindsey as she left this morning, she told me about how much she enjoyed you. She said you kept motivating her to see more details. You pulled those details out of her imagination. If she had eyesight, you would have been encouraging her to look closer and deeper at things. She described two dogs running around in circles. You made her see the action, the fun, the life of the event. That is also want a painter does. So you are the first and fourth painter. Lindsey is the second and third painter.”

They all heard a noise and turned around to see Lindsey’s mom pushing her in a wheelchair. They had returned to the room to pick up an iPod Lindsey left in the room.

Lindsey rolled over to Lily’s bedside and gave her a hug. Lily was in disbelief that Lindsey really was blind. She told Lindsey how she now understood. Lindsey was trying to help Lily cheer up. She knew it was by giving her something to paint so that Lily would snap out of her sadness.

Lindsey explained to Lily that while she did not have eyesight that she really was not blind. “I saw a dog park, but you made it crisp and clear, with more colors and with a lot more action than I saw at first. I am the one who should be thanking you for giving me better sight. I also saw your friends and family and pets and everything you described when we talked and prayed after the lights were out. During that time we both were relying on our thoughts and our words to see in the darkness. God gave both of us certain gifts. Those gifts are even greater when we work together!”

Lindsey and Lily both promised to call each other each week so they could “paint” over the phone. LFM

Adapted and embellished from a story circulated on the Internet (author unknown)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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