If you asked me to name a painter not named Picasso or Van Gogh, I don’t think I could. (Okay, that’s a lie because I know for a fact the Ninja Turtles were named after painters.) The point is I’ve never owned a painting. In fact, I’ve never wanted to…until about a month ago.
Creativity abounds in every culture. It’s awe inspiring to walk through the chapels of Santa Fe, New Mexico, or historic castles of Switzerland. Even downtown Chicago near Millenium Park or Grant Park abound with beautiful features and architecture.
It’s easy to appreciate, but hard to understand. Especially for a former engineer like myself.
There was this ongoing joke in college that if engineers had their way the world would be built with squares in one shade of gray.
I didn’t get it.
I was walking through the town of Truckee about a month ago (with my mom). I’m not really a shopper, but I like to browse. I like to meander through the downtown stores and get a feel for the city, scoffing at the five hundred dollar vases, and fifty dollar trinkets scattered about.
On the walls hung several paintings, some by local artists, some not. All priced in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.
I couldn’t even figure out what half the paintings were supposed to be.
That’s when I saw her.
Hanging on the wall, a few feet away from the storefront.
She was breathtaking.
Not the woman in the painting, but the painting itself.
I stared at the painting from the center aisle of the store. Then I took a few steps closer. And a few more. Until my eyes were just inches away. Searching.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to put into words what this painting made me feel. But it shook me to the very core of who I am.
The sad thing is I walked out of the store without the painting.
It wasn’t until five days later, when I sat staring at the same ripped sticky note that’s been taped to my desk for the past seven years, that I did anything.
I was still thinking about the painting. The innocence. The mindfulness. The reflection of my soul.
So, I called the store (after I asked permission from my wife of course) and did the very thing that I’ve always known to do: lay hold.
This isn’t a free ticket to recklessly pursue life. But I think we’d all find our lives a lot brighter if we lived by this one rule.
When something moves you: lay hold.