At a community arts and music festival last week, I happened upon a face painting booth. The artist, whose name tag introduced her as Marilyn; she was a tiny, middle-aged woman, with an engaging smile and wearing an Elf hat. I thought I need to do this; it was the perfect place and time (even if Elaine threatened not to walk beside me).

A bulletin board was filled with potential designs, and I liked the cat faces, but they were too cute, and asked her if she could make one that looked fiercer. Marilyn showed me some lion faces on her iPad, I picked one out and told her the only modification was it had to have a big, sparkling red nose.

She laughed and told me that face-painting was her side job, and she was actually a professional clown. I said that was interesting because I was also a clown, not a professional, but a humanitarian clown. Her eyes widened and she said I knew I recognized your voice; you work with Patch Adams don’t you? I nodded and told me she was at the Clown Town Healing Fest several years ago.

I marveled at the coincidence and sat down on a little folding chair facing her. Marilyn prepared my face during which I continued talking. When she picked up her brush however, she said “it’s time to be quiet and still because that’s how I do my best work”.

In the ensuing quietude and stillness, it came to me in a way I could really hear it…it’s time to get still, relax, stop talking so much, get into my clown soul and lighten up so I can do my best work.

It was a fabulous face and I walked around the park talking and laughing with fairgoers, artists, vendors without getting short of breath. I have got to let my clown out more., and I don’t need pink tights, tutu or the flamingo headdress, it’s the red nose that opens my heart and tames the anxieties that terrorize it. 

Every act of insight and creativity is the result of being in the right place, at the right time, with an open mind ready to listen. Coincidence is divine serendipity; I found a fellow member of my Clown tribe, the Dorks (Divine Order of the Red Knoses) and she brought me into my light and laughter.

In the spirit of this holiday season I send you blessings for a New Year filled with peace, wonder, and loving possibilities…like finding a Dork Elf to guide you.