Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CLOWN (02/13/20)
TITLE: The Second Act
By Holly Short
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“There’s clowns making balloon animals! Daddy, can I have one?”
He opened his wallet in reply. One dollar left. Just enough.
Minutes later, we stood in front of two clowns slumped on folding chairs, a wet cardboard box of balloons between them. Our daughter asked for a horse. Wordless, one clown began stretching and twisting a blue balloon.
Over and under, around and around, she watched the magic taking place in his hands, oblivious to the stench thick enough to wall off the refreshing spring rain.
As the balloon took shape, my insides deflated when I noticed the clown’s stained sixty-year-old fingers. Grimy clothes patched to make a costume were more likely patched in repair. And the only smile on his face was painted on. Caked and crumbling, the red bled into white, a grim replica of a joy long gone.
He handed the balloon horse to our daughter and continued the assembly-line pace with his paint-faced partner, ensuring no one looked too long, or too deep.
As far back as we can trace, my husband and I are first-generation Christians. We came to Christ later in life and during those first few years as believers I carried a heavy weight for all the lost time.
I would look at my children and fear that I couldn’t change enough, learn enough, fast enough. I worried that seasoned believers could see right through what I wanted them to see: my own painted-on mask. And I resented the young families in our church who seemed to have bypassed many of the hardships my husband and I had brought on ourselves from living with our backs to God for so long.
How could God possibly use half a life?
But what I learned in time is that our God is a God of the second act: an act of grace. He meets us right where we’re at, “acting on our behalf.”1
He replaces assembly-line relationships with transparency and trust. He helps us look past the masks of others.
And every time we turn our faces to him, he wipes away more of the old paint so the “image of his Son”2 can shine through. His own red bleeds into white. Clean and clear, with an everlasting smile.
1 Isaiah 64:4 ESV (author's paraphrase)
2 Romans 8:29 ESV
This is a work of non-fiction.
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