Monday, November 8, 2010

Jordan Ellis and Pouring it Out

Jordan Ellis at eleven
I taught Vacation Bible School at church for many years and headed up the crafts. With an art background, I never wanted to provide crafts where all the finished work looked the same. I extended boundaries in the name of creative exploration so each child could produce a work that was uniquely theirs. But, some children pushed even beyond my far fences.

Jordan Ellis was one of those children.

One year, we were decorating baseball hats. The kids could choose from several mediums with which to embellish their hats. Jordan chose glitter glue and lots of it. The artist in me wanted to let him go, but the teacher in me wanted to hold him back. After all, I had to make the glue last through two more classes. The artist won, because he seemed to be so thoughtful in his work. I did offer a little advice, but when he finally finished, I wondered if I’d have enough glue for even one more class. I’d never seen so much glitter on one hat. I put it along with the other kid’s hats in an out of the way place, hopefully to dry out enough to take home in a few days.

When I walked into the room to get the hats later in the week, I didn’t know what I’d do with Jordan’s. I expected it would just be a dripping gluey mess.

I was wrong.

I found instead a work of art. The intensity of colors and the way he’d applied them stopped me short. Now completely dry, I took the hat in my hands. If I’d known hats could look like this, I would’ve had the other kids do the same thing. I don’t like to compare, but Jordan’s was the best of all.

In a few hours, I’ll attend Jordan’s funeral. He died two days ago in a tragic auto accident at the age of seventeen. If I could, instead of flowers, I’d take a bottle of glitter glue as a tribute.

A glittery banner component Jordan made at 6
You see, Jordan left me with a valuable lesson--if you want beauty, you have to pour it all out.

Though I hadn’t kept in touch with Jordan in recent years, I read he became a star baseball player at his high school. Vocationally, he was headed toward vet school already working for a local veterinarian. He continued to pour it all out for beauty in his life.

Jesus said in Matthew 26:28 as he offered the cup to his disciples just before Gethsemane, “This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

It’s comforting to remember Jordan knew the forgiveness Jesus offered.

Now, because Jordan knew Jesus, he’s in a place so glimmery, his glue-filled hat wouldn’t even compare.

And he’s with the one who poured it all out for him.

We’ll miss you, precious Jordan.

When I’m tempted to hold back in the name of being prudent, I’m going to remember your lasting legacy. I was your teacher in VBS, but you left me with the lesson.


Joni said...

Beautifully written.

Beverly Varnado said...

Joni,thank you, and I really enjoyed reading through your blog as well. Many blessings to you. Bev

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