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A Work of Art

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: nist6ss

There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.

— Deepak Chopra

I was raised with the idea that for each and every one of us, there is a God-given purpose.  But, I’ve never felt that I figured out what God intends me to do.  Recently, I was reminded that while I can be very purpose-driven, maybe God’s a little more relaxed about it.  Maybe, the idea is for each of us to create the best version of us that we can be.  Maybe, the intent is that we become works of art.  Let me tell you the story of how I reached this conclusion…

Almost two years ago, my friend Teri, who deserted me by moving to the Central Coast of California, was run down by one of her neighbors.  Now, Teri is a good friend and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to run her down (most days), but that’s what happened.  Being a trouper, she tried her best to soldier on but within a few hours it became apparent that she would need some help.

Being unemployed, and never having seen her new house, it also became apparent that driving up the coast and taking care of her was what I was supposed to do.  It’s not that I didn’t want to go, but I faced a major challenge.  Putting me in a car for a long drive has the same effect on me as it does on many babies.

It’s the best way to put me to sleep.  (This is not good for me or the other drivers on the road.)  I think this tendency to want to sleep comes from year after year of driving from Chicago to LA and back.  I read part of the way and slept when I wasn’t reading.

I tried six ways from Sunday to find an alternative way to get to Teri’s house, but there is only one good way to get to her house: drive.  So, drive I did.

Faith in Action

It was a good trip, if you don’t count the fact that I had to stop and sleep on the way up.  I was there to do the things that Teri couldn’t do: walk the dogs, bend over and pick up the dog stuff, bend over and feed the dogs, bend over and get the newspaper… you get the idea.  Teri had broken a few ribs and couldn’t bend or reach or laugh or cough.  The bending and reaching, I could do.  The laughing and coughing, Teri had to deal with herself.

When she had first moved up to her place on the coast, Teri joined a church.  The whole reason that Teri knew that she had broken ribs and toes and… was that, being a polite person, she had called the church office to say that she’d be unable to keep a commitment that she’d made.  When the minister heard what had happened, the congregation went into action.  A deacon, who also was a practicing nurse, was dispatched to check on Teri and insisted that she go to the ER to be checked out.  Several x-rays and pain-relief prescriptions later, Teri was sent home with instructions for how to reduce her pain and chance of further injury.  Because of the type of church it is, the next day, the minister came to visit.  And that’s how I met Eugenia.

Create a Masterpiece

In a recent post on her blog, Conversations in Good Company, she wrote of a trip she took to Manhattan.  On a visit to MoMA, she met a woman who at 87 years old was having the time of her life.  This chance encounter gave her a vision of what she would like her future to be:

“That is what I want,” I thought to myself.  “A well mapped face, full of life, waking each day thirsty for more.  That is what I want, to walk without a cane, to say de Kooning stinks, to eat a mushroom tart and tell strangers my stories.  That is what I want: to be just such a work of art.”

A work of art.  What a wonderful description of what we all can be – works of art.  I believe that is what God intends for each and every one of us.  We are His works of art.  He’s given us the basic materials and the grace to create a masterpiece.

What will you create?

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