I love to paint in watercolors and oils. Some years ago I was asked by friends to paint a picture for their home. I chose a simple watercolor landscape with a tree, and water and sky in the background. Just as I finished my last stroke, a drop of black paint fell off my brush and landed square in the middle of my tree. I cringed at the thought that I had ruined the painting. Watercolors are so unforgiving, more so than oils. I stared at my blotch in disgust and unbelief. How could this happen? Why had I been so careless? Then I thought I glimpsed a familiar shape. With a careful stroke here, and a little stroke there, the blotch was turned into a bird, a “happy little accident,” as Bob Ross would describe it. The accidental little bird ended up adding some mystery, beauty and intrigue to the scene.
When my mother saw the painting and heard the woeful tale of the bird, she was captivated and asked if she could have it. I told her I was sorry, but it had already been promised to my friends. I was surprised at how many times she referred to that painting over the years. One evening, out of sheer coincidence, I was with my mother at a restaurant when we ran into the friends to whom I had gifted the painting. I had totally forgotten the gift, and evidently, so had my friends who gave my mother a glazed look when she asked them about it. I had to smile at the thought that the long-forgotten painting had probably disappeared years before in the abyss of a garage sale.
In retrospect, I wish I had given this insignificant piece of art to my mother, simply because when she looked at it, she understood the story, the true significance behind the work. She would have cherished it. You see, my mother related emotionally to the painting. She could relate to the blotch, the stain, the accident that attacked the painting of her life with a vengeance, trying to snuff out its beauty. She totally grasped the analogy of the forgiving hand of the Master Artist covering her dark stain with love and a few masterful strokes and turning the painting of her life into a masterpiece of His love.
Every life is a work of art in God’s eyes, to be loved and cherished, not to be cast away or discarded because of the blotch and stain of failure, fear, past mistakes, hate or rejection. Every great artist eventually learns that colors of light shine the brightest against the dark, somber tones. Let us cherish each and every painting for its true worth, its blotches and yes, the amazing story behind the strokes.