God works in ridiculous ways.
The word we usually put there is “mysterious”, but I don’t think it quite covers the breadth of human experience. “Mysterious” sounds important and cool, shrouded in misdirection and plot twists and strange misty fogs. “Surprising” is probably closer to the truth. But sometimes, the word is “ridiculous.”
It’s gotten to the point where I want to put anything and everything on this blog, because if I don’t, I’ll just go on putting nothing. Stress and anxiety have been leaning in on me lately. I have ways to deal with stress. Most of them involve music or puzzles. This time it’s been different.
I’ve been drawing ponies.
I recently discovered the latest incarnation of My Little Pony, called Friendship is Magic. I’m old enough to remember the originals, and I own three vintage toys: Starshine, Morning Glory, and Buzzer. The new show has more substance than one would expect from a franchise that started out as a half-hour-long toy commercial. It also has a bright, clean animation style that’s a pleasure to watch. I like drawing, but I’d never attempted cartooning before. It’s a whole different discipline. So I decided to give it a shot.
Cartooning is fun. I’m surprised by how expressive it is. You can convey a whole wealth of emotion through the twist of a lip or the droop of an eyelid. Cartoon ponies prance around my notebooks and invade random sheets of paper. I started up a deviantArt account for them and for my calligraphy. But the part that I really didn’t expect was how giving my emotions and thoughts to cartoon ponies can relieve the pressure that builds in my heart, revealing things I didn’t know were there, or working out knots of cause and effect that overwhelm me.
Each pony has a different voice, a whole character based on some aspect of me or my imagination. Their problems are mine, put to paper, outlined and explored and challenged. Sometimes I talk to them directly. And that sounds weird. But every time I say to myself that this is stupid and I can’t believe I’m doing this, I run into an argument: It’s working. It has helped me deal with things, and somehow the Holy Spirit — the Comforter — is highlighting a way that I might be comforted. Because drawing is relaxing. Learning something new is relaxing. Art engages a part of my soul that I might otherwise ignore. Cartoon ponies are silly. They’re absolutely ridiculous. And cute. And I can’t draw silly, ridiculous, cute cartoons without making myself laugh and reminding myself of so many good things that I’ve seen, or done, or heard about.
And I feel silly writing this. But if the God of the Universe is willing to work through candy-colored cartoon ponies, I’ve got no excuse.