peach is not a skin color.

The  past two weeks, I’ve done a lot with Crayola crayons. I’ve sorted them into stacks, put them into bags, given them to children in need of school supplies…and, I’ve colored.

The best way to occupy kids while their sister is at her dentist appointment?  Coloring.  The best distraction for one preschooler while her sister is getting her eye exam?  Coloring.  So, we colored. 

We colored butterfly, after butterfly, after butterfly…mariaposa!  We raced our hands and added jewelry.  We drew houses and princesses and castles and mountains and seas and suns.  And we drew dresses and ourselves.

These children are beautiful.  Their skin is dark and golden.  Their eyes are deep.  Their hair is raven.  They have the longest eyelashes, and smiles that communicate beyond the broken English.  That bring warm and joy and gladness to a world filled with run-down trailers and broken glass and gang violence and drugs and despair. 

And they pick up the peach crayon, and they draw themselves.  Or, the person they picture themselves to be.  The girls and boys they’d like to be.  With the nice clothes and the perfect hair and the fairy tale ending.  With the world that seems to be perfect from the outside in, instead of the world where everything is topsy turvy and sometimes nothing is constant.  Full of domestic violence and hopelessness and fear and inferiority and the feeling of “just-getting-by.”

I want to tell these children they are beautiful.  They sit in my lap, and put their head on my shoulders, and laugh, tilting their heads back.  They wear simple clothes, but their moms have washed their faces and put up their hear, and made sure they are wearing a clean shirt.  I hold them, and I hug them, and I hold their hand, and I hope they know that I, this very insignificant and very unimportant, and very white person…I think they are beautiful. 

Without the peach crayola skin.  With the dark hair and golden skin and deep eyes that are searching, and longing, and full of love and laughter.   They are beautiful, just as they are.  Without the princess dresses and castles and perfect hair.  In their imperfection, and mess, and brokenness.  Because that’s how God sees us all, anyways. 

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