Finding patience in a Monet painting.

I came across a Monet painting recently and noticed the date. I was surprised to find out that it was completed over the course of four years. I’d always thought that I was a slacker if I didn’t finish an art project in a few days.

The painting is this –
Claude_Monet,_Saint-Georges_majeur_au_crépuscule

It is called “San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk”, or in the original French, “Saint-Georges Majeur au Crepuscule”. The dates are 1908-1912.

This looks like a pretty simple piece to me. This looks like something that could be knocked out in an afternoon. But then again, I’m not a famous artist. Maybe the trick is that he just makes it look simple.

I’ve decided to take this to heart. I’ve decided to be more patient with my art and with myself. This is a dangerous place to be for me. If I don’t push myself enough I won’t do anything. I’ll let projects sit half completed. I’ll start things and not finish them.

But then again, if I do things too fast, I’ll not have time to do them well. I’ll not take the time to let them digest, or ferment, or mellow. Some things are better if they are done slowly. Some things have to be done slowly if they are going to be done right.

I’m not in a race. I don’t have any assignments. Creating isn’t my job. There aren’t any deadlines. The only rules I have are ones I’ve created.

I’m reminded of Luke Skywalker about to enter the cave on Dagobah. The only thing he took in there was himself. Sometimes that is the scariest thing of all.

When I create, I take with me all the rules that I’ve been given of how things have to be and all the rules I’ve made up. I put limits on myself before I’ve even begun. I have expectations that prevent me from finding innovations.

Part of my practice this year is to not limit anything, anymore. It is to be open and trusting to what God is leading me to be and to become. Part of that practice is to encourage you to do the same.

Poem – Poets are born in the strangest of homes.

Poets are born in the strangest of homes.

Grapes, before they are jelly, are happier.
They don’t know the pain of becoming.

I’ve heard that
the blue fish flies at night
so no one can see it.

It is afraid of being found out.
No one knows it is blue.

On Thursdays,
when the moon is full,
we swim outdoors
hoping to see it.

The light of the moon
makes her scales shine
so merrily.

Only a groundhog can kiss a saint.
The dirt of honesty smudges its nose.
Deep in the soil, deep in the soul,
The Earth’s potatoes watch the stars.

There is something about dirt,
about being unseen,
here.

We are all hiding our true nature,
even from ourselves.

Sometimes what we need
is the slow soft lights
of the evening
to show the way
to ourselves.

They aren’t so bright.
We don’t have to wince
and wink
like we do
in the glare of the sun.
In the evening’s glow we can be
ourselves,
fearless.

Poem – dog eyes.

We are like
old dogs
with cataracts.

Eyes glazed over,
grey film haze,
we wander
unseeing,
automatically,
by habit.

We know our paths.

As long as
nothing changes
we are good.

As soon as
something happens
we hit our heads.

We’ve gotten so used to
our lives being the same
that they have
become the same

We no longer use our eyes.
They’ve become vestigial.
They’ve become unnecessary.

We no longer see
anything.

We no longer notice
that nothing is
ever the same.

Lord, I ask for new eyes
for all of us
that we may see
Your creation
anew.
Give us the eyes of a new day
of beginning
of hope
of trust,
that we may become
truly alive
again.

Amen.