Is this just me?
There is something you have seen a hundred times, something powerfully beautiful, or maybe even subtly beautiful but it is something you have only seen on a page or screen. It is something that makes you think about things differently like the spires of a gothic cathedral that makes you look up or the soft colors in an impressionist painting or the stretching line of the ocean. It makes you feel different just by looking at it on the page but you have never actually seen it in physical form. Perhaps you have an art book or a travel guide for that trip you will take “some day” or you have seen the place in your favorite tv show…There is something you hold dear about that particular thing, that particular piece of beauty…And yet you have never even seen it.
I have so many places like this. It’s really magical knowing that there are whole new worlds of beauty just outside my finger tips that I can’t quite reach.
But perhaps… I can. I remember the first time that I saw St. Peters. The incredible columns were ones that I had seen hundreds of times before in my life when watching papal events or reading art books about the Vatican. I walked between the pillars and suddenly realized I was standing in the beautiful pictures that had already captured my heart.
It is an odd sensation to suddenly realize you are at home when you have never yet been to a place. And yet… it is possible
Coming back to America, I have found that my life is filled with less of these awe filled moments. I am too busy working to be a tourist here and I am focused on what I need to do more than the moments that need to be. But yesterday I went the museum with a friend who shares my passion for art and far surpasses me in my knowledge of it.
At one point she told me to close my eyes and moved me through the gallery. Some how, miraculously, I didn’t trip but finally paused. She told me to open my eyes.
Van Gogh’s painting of the Olive Trees were right before me.
It’s random, I know… but not for me. Olive trees say Rome, beautiful memories, the sense of peace and home that came with resting in Italian country side. I have loved this painting before I saw it because of all the memories it had for me. We had often talked about Van Gogh–how the pain in his life had ended up bearing fruit of loveliness. Suffering often results in despair or beauty like nothing seen before (sometimes both).
Crying with beauty. It doesn’t happen very often. Perhaps for some, it never happens at all. But for me, it is one of those rare moments in life where everything seems to come into clearer focus. Its a moment where I am completely at home.