And like Ferris and his friends in the film, we had the choice experience of viewing an original painting by Georges Seurat. Thankfully, photography is allowed in the permanent collections so I could capture the experience of seeing a Seurat up close.
Each brushstroke is so beautiful when examined at close range. Some are brilliant colors with texture and vibrance. From this perspective each can be seen individually.
Taking a step or two back, the detail of each brushstroke recedes while the interplay of each brushstroke with its adjacent neighbors becomes more apparent.
Another few steps back, and the brushstrokes stop looking like brushstrokes. Then they seem to be dots that make up larger forms.
Finally, at a distance the individual dots aren't even apparent as the eye sees the whole picture of forms, shadows and highlights that Seurat created with thousands of small brushstrokes of many colors.
In that quiet gallery, many thoughts ran through my head...
Life is made up of moments, each like a tiny brushstroke with its own unique texture, brilliance, vibrance and color. Each relationship that influences my life, good and bad, adds a brushstroke with special nuances. Each experience I go through, good and bad, adds a brushstroke.
In Seurat's painting, muted, dark, or grey brushstrokes are necessary to create dimension, to accent the highlights or to anchor a form. Not every brushstroke can be a brilliant and vibrant color.
The dark and grey times in my life are like the dark and grey brushstrokes.
If I over focus on one of those dark or grey brushstrokes, I miss seeing how that one brushstroke fits into the greater whole of my life--how it is necessary in order to create the shapes and compositions that make up who I am.
Not every experience or relationship in my life can be brilliant and vibrant. Some must be muted. Some must have hints of grey. And some must be dark. I need them to give my character dimension. I need them to accent the high points because I cannot know the sweet without the bitter. I need them to anchor my soul in the faith which is born from affliction.