Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Agony and the Ecstasy

That was some storm we had: snow and ice and four straight days of closed schools and businesses; rolling black outs; empty shelves at the grocery store; no mail or garbage pick up or deliveries.  I hope you weathered it well. As for myself - I spent it quilting and watching movies on Netflix.

There was one movie in particular that fascinated me. The Agony and the Ecstasy  is a 1965 film staring Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison. In it, Heston plays famed sculptor Michelangelo, and Harrison, Pope Julius II. It is the story of the Sistine Chapel’s beautiful’s beautiful painted ceiling.

Michelangelo Buonarroti, the archetypical renaissance man, was initially a sculptor of marble. He spent his youth working with chisels and hammers and stone. In this he excelled. To him the Pope’s request that he paint a ceiling was preposterous. He was a sculptor. The Pope knew that, he knew that. Asking Michelangelo to paint a ceiling was like asking a quilter to design a line of clothing for New York’s fashion week. The medium, the form, the size of the project were all far beyond his demonstrated gifts. And yet....who in the 15th century, could turn down a Pope?

Stuck between a rock and a hard place.
We’ve all been there. We each are gifted with certain talents and education that fit us perfectly for our jobs. It is a blessing to work when the job fits your skills. And yet...there are times when you can’t turn down the task at hand.  You can't run away.  Invariably the job follows you.  One way or the other God gets your attention and turns you back to the task at hand.  Stamping your feet and pitching a hissy fit isn't really a good option.  This scenario leaves you looking stupid, red faced, and childish.  Then you do what you didn't want to do anyway.   If your fit persists, you might even get your head handed to you on a plate, eaten by a whale, or smacked by the proverbial big stick.  Seems to me, it would be best to face it head on, and get to work.  (As if it is every that easy.)

I think that is what the title is all about.  Love takes you to places that you are not naturally inclined to go, it lends to you the power of creation, at which point you have to make a decision.  Agonizing decisions where you fight with yourself and others and eventually give in.  The results?  That's where the ecstasy comes in.

May each of us find our Sistine Chapels.

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