Theme from Schindler’s List - composed by John Williams, feat. violinist Itzhak Perlman
Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child, listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS, the IMPOSSIBLES, the WON’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES, then listen close to me —
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.
– Shel Silverstein
You Are Special by Max Lucado
My mother often read this story to me as a child. It was one of my bedtime favourites. Years later, this story resonates more strongly with me than ever before. In fact, today I even find this simple, child-friendly story rather challenging. It is a stunningly accurate depiction of our world, and a beautiful demonstration of the power of faith.
“Remember: You are special because I made you, and I don’t make mistakes.” - Eli the Woodcarver
Mosaic. I’ve always loved this word, and the way it just rolls off your tongue. I was having coffee with one of my best friends several months ago, and he used the word mosaic. In the weeks that followed, that word was somewhat of a theme in my life, coming up in unlikely places and coming to mind at unlikely times. I started thinking and meditating upon this word. Mosaic.
I was very blessed to travel to Paris last summer. Of the endless incredible things that Paris had to offer, a highlight for me was visiting the Musée de L’Orangerie, home to Monet’s eight Water Lilies. Sitting in those display rooms immersed in these masterpieces was an experience of overwhelming beauty that I will carry with me forever. But the most interesting thing that I discovered about these works is this: if you walk up to any of the murals and look very closely, all you see is a collection of haphazard-looking brush strokes of varying hues and sizes. If you focus on one solitary square foot of Monet’s Water Lilies, you could be fooled into believing that it was produced by the hand of a young child at play. Then, you take five steps back. And the wholeness, the completeness, the entirety of the 6 by 40 foot canvas washes over you like a tidal wave. And it takes your breath away. All of those unsystematic, careless-looking splotches of colour? Not unsystematic or careless in any way. They are deliberate. They are purposefully positioned. And each and every one of them works elegantly and harmoniously with its neighbours to create an experience of unimaginable beauty and majesty.
Like Monet’s paintings, each human being is a unique and exquisite mosaic. If we try to figure someone out by too-closely scrutinizing all the little bits and pieces of their past and personality, we miss the beauty of their entirety. We miss how all these small pieces work in harmony to create a dynamic, moving, breathing, breathtaking individual. We can’t possibly make sense of their patchwork, for we do not know the story behind each piece of fabric. Just as you can’t evaluate a painting based on its discrete brush strokes, you can’t evaluate a person based on the discrete hard-earned badges, or tender scars, or spots of brightness, or small tears that litter their canvas. Rather, we must stand back and appreciate the whole. We must first realize the masterpiece that is standing before us. Only then, only once we’ve realized the beauty of their completeness, can we appreciate the significance of each brush stroke. Only then can we try to understand the contribution made by each discrete piece to the beautiful mosaic of that person’s being.
Over the years, certain items have earned the reputation of being infamously lousy Christmas presents. Besides the fact that this undermines the inherent fabulous-ness of holiday gift-giving, I think that we often choose to blindly buy into these stereotypes before taking a moment to think about what a particular gift really means and represents. Let’s talk about socks. Last year, the best present I received was a pair of big, thick, slightly tacky, baby blue socks. Hands down. These super-socks are both thermal and moisturizing, and never before had my feet been swathed in such a cocoon of comfort. I was very fond of the socks from the moment I unwrapped them, but grew fonder still of these podiatric wonders upon taking some time to reflect on the innumerable blessings that the Christmas season always brings. How fortunate am I to have someone who cares so much about me that they go about their Christmas shopping with the temperature of my feet in mind?? To have someone who thinks about my wellness from the tips of the hairs on my head right down to my baby toes? “Love is in the details,” and a person who chooses to give you socks for Christmas? That is a person that loves you very much.
My wish this holiday season is that, like my cozily content toes, everyone may find themselves gently swaddled in softness, warmth and comfort. May you be safe, blessed, joyful, and grateful.
I Will Wait - Mumford and Sons
These days of dust which we have known,
Will blow away with this new sun.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
A childhood favourite of mine. Click here for the full story.
“Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”
- Henry van Dyke
Armies of Your Heart - Elizaveta
Break through illusion, and take a leap today.