Thursday, July 5, 2012

Love's Quiet Promise

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." (Michelangelo Buonarotti)

Musings on a lazy July afternoon...

Summer finally arrived around here.  June was mostly gray and damp:  enticing if I was in Ireland - not so much here!  But the warm sunshine and bright blue skies have finally arrived, and I'm far enough removed from the "Gotta go!", "Gotta do!", mindset of school to properly enjoy them.  My "raison d'etre" today has been:  "Do whatever moves you.  Just move".  Find the value in just doing what you want - doing what comes to me in the moment.  No lists.  No worries about "What should I be doing?".  But to be active - not caught up in thought, or listless like a turnip.

So I've done a little housework.  Weeded in the yard.  Took Izzy for her "morning spin" around the block.  Had a lunch date with my wife (she's the hard working member of this household in the summer!).  And now I sit here, pecking away at this entry...

So why the Michelangelo quote to begin this?  It's been in my head for several days now, sparked by something that Guy said in class last week.  This is what he said in answer to a student's question:

"Give yourself to what you love, and what you love will give itself back to you."

Love's greatest gifts are never given to the timid lover or occasional admirer.  The angels within the cold marble are never revealed to the sculptor who works only when inspired, or only as long as it's easy.

It took Michelangelo two years to carve this angel in the Basilica of San Domencio in Bologna, Italy.

Tap, tap, tap.  Brush and blow.  Tap, tap, tap.  Brush and blow.  Fingers ache.  Tap, tap, tap.

Persistence.  Surrender.  Giving oneself to what they love, even when all seems empty.  Waiting.  Waiting for Love's reply.

It took Leonardo da Vinci 4 years to paint the Sistine Chapel.

Michelangelo labored for two years on The Pieta

Claude Monet spent most of the last 30 years of his life, creating over 250 paintings, depicting his beloved water lilies at his home in Giverny.

All of the world's great artists have known this - this Law of reciprocal Divine Love.

"Give yourself to what you love, and what you love will give itself back to you."

Don't expect a masterpiece.  Don't wait for the "perfect idea", or the "perfect time".  Don't avoid the empty space or the blank page.

Tap, tap, tap. Scribble and peck. Write just a little bit.  Do it now.  Do it when you know you're avoiding it.  Welcome the empty space.  Embrace the blank page.  Wait silently in it and listen.

It's then that Love gently answers.  It's then that something truly beautiful is revealed.  Something I could never have predicted or imagined.  Marble can appear supple and soft.  Words can come where there was only silence.  What you love will find you if you're willing to first reach towards it.

Venus de Milo in The Louvre, Paris (seen it!)

Beauty is found in the willingness to take the journey - in the courage to patiently persist - in order to be given something that I couldn't have given myself.  But I never would have received it if I hadn't sat down and waited...and worked.

I want to remember these things as my lazy summer continues.  Who knows what I might enjoy?  A lady and her dog, and the promise of an adventure?

"Young Lady in A Boat", James Tissot (1870)

Or where the next "Pearl" may be found?

"Girl with the Pearl Earring",  Johannes Vermeer (1667)

Artists must sometimes be miners.  Always willing to dig a little deeper.  Ever patient.  

Waiting for Love's quiet promise to be fulfilled.