The Giver is an acrylic portrait that expresses a glorious burden—the challenge of bringing literacy resources to struggling readers.
As an instructional coach, I have the privilege of working alongside many empathetic, hard-working people who share this mission. People who look into the eyes of students and see the pain that results from not being able to read.
And although the task is daunting, we roll up our sleeves to do what it takes to get students the resources they need.
Recently, I posted the painting in process on Facebook and asked people to weigh in on what they thought. I had struggled with the painting and wasn’t sure I liked the results
Then the unexpected happened: without knowing the backstory, people left comments that captured her essence.
The first comment helped me to explain why I painted The Giver:
“I don’t know why she looks broken. Like she’s been hurt and you can see it in her eyes.” – Amy
I answered: “Amy…her story has to do with being broken. She represents a passion I have to help students learn to read who are humiliated because they can’t.”
“She has seen to much wickedness but is hoping to see some good in you, green eyes are true they see what’s in you.” – Robert
“She has a story…you can see it in her eyes and closed lips.” – Jenny
“She is guarded… The hurts she has experienced keep her guarded and her mouth is perfect for that guarded place that she is in. She will let you in a little bit as she needs a friend, but she will have a hard time trusting her heart completely to another.” – Linda
“What I see in those eyes is reluctance to trust again.” – Carla
“There’s an innocence about her, like what do I expect? Can I trust you? Can I trust myself?” – Dee
Each comment I read became a gift to me…a challenge to view giving in a new way.
Yes, giving is difficult…
and stretches us beyond our comfort zone.
Giving requires us to look past our lack of motivation and in through troubled eyes to where the soul resides.
Giving dares us to ask what my friend, Laura, asked of me when she saw The Giver: “What is interfering with her peace?”
So in an ironic turn of events, The Giver changed my perspective and drew the gift of creativity out of others. She has definitely earned her namesake.
I want to give a special thanks to all of you who left such heart-felt comments on my Facebook page and to those who share the mission of literacy!