Friday, February 8, 2013

Love the long and short views

Yesterday I mentioned that I went to the Art Institute of Chicago this past Tuesday. As I wandered through the art exhibits, I couldn't help but notice the difference when I viewed the art up close and when I stood back and saw it from a distance. This was particularly true of the Impressionist art.

I wanted to see both the larger picture and the detail, of course. When I was right next to the painting, I could just imagine the artist's hand creating each tiny stroke. I could see all the fine detail, each stroke, each touch of the brush; and it was just beautiful to see how the colors were layered. Then when I stood at a distance, I saw the overall picture and all those tiny strokes and touches made an impression, creating a larger picture. I could see the whole; and that, too, was beautiful.

Our lives are like that, too. I don't always appreciate the up-close look at my life. I sometimes concentrate too much on the flaws, on the negatives that are there rather than seeing the importance of each little detail, each little stroke. Then it's good to stand back and see the larger picture. Sometimes when I stand back and see how all the smaller pieces fit together to create my life, I can appreciate those small pieces a bit more.

No doubt the artists themselves were harder on their creations than we would ever be. Our lives are like that, too. Others see our lives from the outside—see the larger picture—and think it looks just fine. We see everything from the inside (or the underside!), and we don't always like what we see. Perhaps a little grace, a little self-forgiveness, might be in order as well as a different perspective. I'm trying to do that, too—extend the grace to myself that I would to others.

Do you need to treat yourself more kindly and appreciate the artwork of your life that you are creating? Don't wait. Start today. Self-love and forgiveness are important.

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