What Really Matters

artist's paintsSeveral years ago, as I walked toward my exercise class, I noticed a beautiful painting in a nearby thrift shop. Every day I stood in front of the painting, taking in its lush beauty. One day I decided to find out how much it cost.  It was only $25, but that was more than I could spend on a painting.

Then one weekend I gave myself permission to gift myself with the painting. On Monday  I went to the shop to purchase it.  It was no longer in the window!  I went in to see if it might have been moved into the shop, but the sales person told me it had been sold. I must have looked as devastated as I felt because she started looking around the shop. “There may be another painting here you might like.” she said, walking to the back of the store.

I was sure nothing could take the original painting’s place so I stayed where I was.  “Oh, look!” She said excitedly. “Here’s one!”  I grudgingly walked toward her and fell in love. The background was soft shades of pastel blue.  Two glass vases, one with a rounded bottom and one tall and narrow, showcased delicately shaded pink flowers. A book lay almost obscured in front of the vases. The glorious part of the painting was the way the light played off the colors.  Sometimes it looked almost misty; other times the painting was clear and sharp.  I bought it on the spot!

This painting is large ( 3′ tall x 2′ wide), framed with an ornate antiqued frame, and covered by heavy glass.  We live in a manufactured home; the walls are covered with wall board, not dry wall or plaster. I used a large screw brusheswith an anchor, but the screw pulled loose several months later. But the painting still hung there for many years, brightening  my heart every time I was in the room.

Recently, I was reading in the living room and  heard a large crash.  Our back door tends to blow open and shut so I assumed that was the cause and promptly forgot all about it. Later that night as I walked in the bedroom, I discovered what the noise had really been. My beloved painting dropped (or slid) straight down to the floor and was propped up against the wall. I was horrified. When I found the courage to check it out, I discovered that the frame was forever cracked but no harm had been done to the heavy glass or the painting.  I dismantled the frame and the painting remains against the wall.

This adventure taught me many things.  First, the things we have our hearts set on can often be replaced with something even better, but we have to be open to the change. Second, we all need at least one precious thing to remind us that beauty is everywhere if we look for it.  Third, perfection isn’t necessary; this painting is as beautiful on the floor as it was on the wall.  In fact some days the painting catches a certain luminosity that I had never noticed when it was properly hung. Fourth, never take anything for granted. This painting holds such memories that I never just walk past it.  I always stop to enjoy it.

Finally, I learned that what really matters about our “things” is how we hold them and the lessons they teach us in our heart’s memory – even when they are no longer present.

images from http://www.pinterest.com

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