Self Portrait @January 2011

I’m four.

I am a princess.

Fairytales are true.

I am loved.

I have strawberry Jell-o, gram-crackers, a pretty paper-plate hat, and a beautiful house made from a cardboard box that I play in. I have a little brother who is my friend. We go on pretend adventures and make forts with blankets and cushions. I tie pillowcases around my neck and am a superhero.

Want to know a secret?
{whispering} I can fly…

My only worry is my night-light staying on and staying away from the scary dog at the end of the ally.


For most of us, our earliest childhood is a bliss we don’t even understand until it’s gone. We look back at fading photos and flickering movies and see the thing we once were. We see that thing that smiles, falls, cries, and instantly gets up again to giggle and run. Looking through boxes of saved art—there is crayon, glue, finger paint, yarn, and glitter. And in those images—there is no falter or fear. We are a wild Picasso with unlimited ability. Proud of every piece.

No shame. No fear. No limits.

Then we grow up. Life is unkind. As the art and photos fade, so do our memories of our child-ness.

We forget the simple joy of a crayon. Because we are forced into ink, and bills, and bullies bigger than any we faced on the playground.

We are thrown into life.

Life happens and we change. We change into adults, following paths that others think we should follow. We hear the lies of what will make us important, and believe them. We get too involved in things that will look right on a college application. We follow paths that will make us, hopefully, into someone who is accepted. We slowly get it wrong and move away from our true selves. The selves that knew how to draw a house and tree and dog without instruction.

When we are four, we’re reminded that the monsters under the bed or in the closet are not real. But then we grow up. Bad things and people happen. We learn, too quickly, to build up walls that protect us from other’s harm. We put out our hands, and keep other’s that far away, because we discover that they are the monsters that lurked in the dark.

Life, monsters, lies, ink, and wrong paths—these things make us change.

But, we don’t need to stay in this state— we can remember who we were. And somehow come back to who we are supposed to be. Come back to our Truth.

As I’m growing up, growing old, I’m finding ways to return to my child-ness. Not because I’m regressing in maturity—but because I need to be healed of frustration, pain, lies, confusion, and hurt. All the things life does to us. I need to return to a place of acceptance and worth and truth. I need to return to the very way God thought me up. A princess. Loved. My authentic me. My truth. Perfect by His standards—and I need to restore that into my soul.

I’m learning that even if life tries to destroys us, it’s truth that restores us.

There is a way to get back to a place where you really can forgive, heal, be nurtured, and give and get love.

For me, and I dare to say for anyone, healing can happen through creating. When you’re four, there is a simple joy in making a mud pie, gathering a bouquet of weeds, playing a symphony of pan-lids, or putting crayons to paper. Creating with our hands, without judgment of what we are doing, seems to have an amazing healing effect.

I’m just getting this concept. And it’s really happening, it’s working! I wish I had known about it sooner.

I’ve become diligent in setting aside time to create. For me, it’s art (and writing). For you?—gardening, composing music, cooking, carving wood, arranging flowers, painting, drawing, writing, photography. It’s something you choose to do without judging yourself. If you feel you don’t have a creative bone in your body. You’re wrong. Go spend $2.00 on a pad of paper and a box of crayons, make a batch of salt-dough, or grab new soap-bar and table-knife. Color, mold, carve without judgment. This is for you and no one else. There is nothing ugly or wrong in what you create. Let your four-year old self take over.

Trust me, they know what to do.

For me, the magic happens when my hands are busy and I create fearlessly. It’s the best kind of meditation. It’s a prayer. Somehow in the process, I think the Holy Spirit starts swirling in my tummy and heart. It begins to polish away the dirty dingy exterior of the lantern that is my whole. I become refueled with clean kerosene. Before long I feel white-hot fire in my belly—and it’s joy. I feel light and lite from within. The monsters retreat to their corners, the bad things of life become dim compared to the light I feel. The hurts, lies, and heartache slowly begin to heal. The scars…soften.

Best of all, I begin to get unstuck…

Soon, the original me, the one God saw from the onset, begins to be restored. The perfect me with purpose and light is STILL there. The worth and value God sees in me, is s-l-o-w-l-y coming back into focus. I rediscover truth. My truth.

This little light of mine—it’s starting to shine.

Now go grab those crayons. This is for you, and ultimately, it is for God.

Copyright © 2009- 2011 Sherry Meneley . All Rights Reserved . . . soiled wings

18 thoughts on “Returning

  1. “Before long I feel white-hot fire in my belly—and it’s joy. I feel light and lite from within. The monsters retreat to their corners, the bad things of life become dim compared to the light I feel.” <– THAT is so true and real to me. It can be hard work re-discovering your passion – but when you get there you KNOW you're there – you've arrived and then the journey REALLY begins . . . I hear you Sister!

  2. I actually look forward to starting every Friday morning off in tears. Your posts really touch me. You are the only woman I know, besides myself, who admits to wishing she could meet the girl she DIDN’T become. “We slowly get it wrong and move away from our true selves.” Well said! The creative time that heals us is most often time spent alone with our “craft”. Notice how it doesn’t include other people. As soon as another person enters the scene we see a skewed reflection of ourselves. Whether or not that other person is critical of us, we become self-conscious, worried that we will disappoint or fail.
    These days I struggle with a lack of concentration; another thief of creativity. I’ve learned to tackle only very small tasks; maybe just re-arranging items on a coffee table and then I’m done for a while. But I guess every little bit helps keep me “unstuck”.
    Sherry, thanks for your insight.

    • Linda – you are more than welcome. Each day I try to rediscover that girl I forgot to be… my life path took me off on a different direction for too long. I did things I was well suited for and very good at – but forgot who I was in the process. I worked really hard to make people proud of me, respect me. But along the way I “lost me”. Thanks for understanding and getting it 🙂
      I hope that you have enough moments to be alone, create, and “return”.

  3. You won’t believe this…

    On Wednesday night a friend at church give me a blank canvas. She told me God is restoring me…and it’s time to paint how He sees me restored.

    What do you think of that?

  4. This spoke so powerfully to me. Creating has become essential to my life. I think I can fly too. 🙂

  5. It is interesting that so many of us seem to hide away the little girl when we become women. Also, interesting is that she is still apart of us and often the best part of us. We just have to encourage her to come out of hiding; when we allow her to see the light again we are truly grown up.

  6. LOVE this – Incredible writing! You have inspired me (not only from this post, but also from watching your creations daily) to find some creative thing in me and start doing it! Thanks my friend!

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