I am the baby in a family of five siblings. For years I was known affectionately as “Baby Gayle.”
You’d think with that kind of upbringing it would be easy for me to receive.
But it didn’t turn out that way.
Maybe it’s because I’m a woman raised by older parents with old-fashioned ideas of give and take. For years my generation has been known affectionately as “Baby Boomers.”
Or maybe it’s because I just didn’t learn how.
Either way, receiving does not come naturally to me.
So when Denise Kerb phoned offering to teach me how to paint with alcohol inks, I stumbled over my tongue. I had never met Denise Kerb. I had only seen her art work hanging in our local art gallery, North Valley Art League.
I had been to the charming art gallery (nestled riverside in Caldwell Park for you locals) that very day and raved to the receptionist about Denise’s work. I mentioned that I had purchased some of the inks but could find nothing online to show me how to paint pictures with the vibrant medium. She passed my ravings on to Denise.
Denise phoned and said it would be her pleasure to come to my house and teach me how to use the seemingly uncontrollable medium. She came on Sunday, the day I reserve for art. She got out some ceramic tiles, showed my “painter” friends and me how to manipulate the inks and then guided us as we blew through straws, stamped with felt, tilted our squares, squiggled and giggled.
Now, Denise makes her living by selling her art and teaching classes. I certainly want to support her in her endeavors, and I was quite humbled by her generosity of supplying everything we needed, so I took her aside later and offered to pay her for her precious time.
She responded, “No, thank you. It is something I want to do for you.”
“But you are doing it for my friends, too,” I insisted.
She looked me in the eye and said with the grace of an angel, “Then it wouldn’t be the same.”
I stopped. I looked at her and back at my happy friends.
Denise had brought bottles of colored ink to share that day, but she shared her heart.
She had come to teach me how to smear the colors into a beautiful picture, but she taught me how to give and how to receive.
God must have sprinkled the earth with Master Teachers so that the rest of us can learn the true lessons of life. Maybe we could all be known affectionately as “Baby Beginners.”
After all, aren’t we all in the infant stage of growing into our own angel wings?