I believe that every person walking this earth, or that has ever walked this earth, is a one of a kind, original masterpiece of art.
I value art, and when I walk through the halls and rooms of an art museum I look closely at each piece. I read about the artist, the time, the country, the setting. I wonder about all that came together in a piece to make it what it is. Why did the artist choose the subject, why did they create the light this way, make that brush-stroke? What was life like on that day for that artist to create this piece of art?
People are the same way. Every event in their lives creates who they are and how they act and what they do with themselves. Why is that man a fireman? Why is this one a preacher? What is that mother thinking as she kisses the booboo on her child’s knee? When the student chooses a major, or a wealthy man his charity…what has come before to make that so?
When I see a homeless woman on the street I wonder how she got there and how her past has helped to create her present and her future. Is she broken and tattered, or is she fierce enough to live this way? How did the brushstrokes in her painting get her to this point in her life? What wisdom does she possess?
When I go to a museum and I spend the day looking at the paintings and my feet begin to ache and I know I will have to give in and go home, I start to feel sadness at the rooms I will miss, the paintings I will never see. If I hear of an exhibit leaving a museum before I get to see it, I feel sadness that I will likely never see those pieces.
I read obituaries. Every day. I know these are works of art I will never see. I missed my chance to know them, and all I have left is the few inches of words to know who they were, what they meant to someone, and that they walked this earth. I feel sadness at missing them, as if they were the exhibit that left the day before for another museum far away.
I know when I am old and facing my own death I will feel sadness at missing knowing people I have not met yet. Grandchildren not yet born, great people, not yet great, obscure people, not crossed my path. I will feel as if there is greatness in the very next room, yet my feet are too tired to walk through the museum, and I must go home. I hope that before I get to the end of my day at the museum, I have met many more interesting one of a kind works. Each one that I see makes me the person that I am…This I believe.