The other day my family and I visited the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin. We saw art from Bouguereau, Picasso, Calder, and ancient pottery and coins from Rome.
We also saw quite a few nudes which caused one of my 8 year old boys to declare that the art museum was a “plaza of nightmares”.
On a mission to avoid a room with life sized naked lady statues in a circle, I lead the kids to a dim hallway lined with paintings. We looked at each and discussed the materials used, the era in which it was created, the style.
Then I turned and gasped. There in front of me was a painting by an artist I greatly admire.
Grandma Moses. (Can we just take a moment to reflect on how adorable she is?)
It’s not her work that I admire so much. I like her paintings just fine, but her craft isn’t what endears her to me. It’s her story and her words that make me love her.
Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was 78 years old.
Let that sink in a minute. 78 years old.
And she became one of America’s most famous folk artists.
Do you want to know what she said about her late-found art?
“If I hadn’t started painting, I would have raised chickens.”
Seriously. Adorable, right?
I wonder if she’d have found as much satisfaction in the raising of chickens as she did in the painting. Part of me thinks she may have found pleasure in work, whether it be spreading feed or paint.
Soon my lazy and restful summer will end, school will begin and so will my new novel. My mornings will be a rush of getting kids ready for the day and out the door and dropped off at school where they’ll work hard at learning. While they’re gone, I’ll be tapping away at my keyboard, creating a story. Then, afternoon will be me getting the kids, helping them with homework, making dinner, cleaning (maybe), getting them to bed, and working on the novel while they’re asleep.
So. Much. Work.
But I intend to find joy in it. Satisfaction. Pleasure. At the end of each day I want to shut my eyes with the knowledge that I did my best and with the hope that I brought Glory to my Creator even if in a small and imperfect way. If for some reason I can’t see that in the day I spent, I have the hope of a fresh start in the morning.
And, like Grandma Moses, as the years go I hope to be able to say,
“I look back on my life like a good day’s work, it was done and I am satisfied with it.”