A Work of Art
By Steve Goodier
Edward Fischer writes in Notre Dame Magazine (February, 1983), that a leper (or,
more correctly, a sufferer of Hansen's Disease) in Fiji followed the leading of
his twisted hands. He became an internationally known artist. "My sickness I see
as a gift of God leading me to my life’s work," he said. "If it had not been for
my sickness, none of these things would have happened."
As a young girl, Jessamyn West had tuberculosis. She was so sick that she was
sent away to die. During that time she developed her skill as a writer and
authored numerous novels in her lifetime.
That great author Flannery O’Connor suffered numerous ailments - lupus struck
her at 25 and she walked only with the aid of crutches for the final fourteen
years of her life. She noted, however, that this illness narrowed her activities
in such a way that she had time for the real work of her life, which was
Some people succeed in spite of handicaps. Others succeed because of them. The
truth is, our problems help to make us what we are. Those who suffer often learn
the value of compassion. Those who struggle often learn perseverance. And those
who fall down often teach others how to rise again. Our troubles can shape us in
ways a carefree existence cannot.
A story is told of an Eastern village that, through the centuries, was known for
its exquisite pottery. Especially striking were its urns; high as tables, wide
as chairs, they were admired around the globe for their strong form and delicate
Legend has it that when each urn was apparently finished, there was one final
step. The artist broke it - and then put it back together with gold filigree.
An ordinary urn was then transformed into a priceless work of art. What seemed
finished wasn’t, until it was broken.
So it is with people! Broken by hardships, disappointments and tragedy, they can
become disappointed and bitter. But when mended by a hand of infinite patience
and love, the finished product will be a work of exquisite beauty and
effectiveness; a life that could only reach its wholeness after it was broken.
If you feel broken remember that you are a work of art! And you may not actually
be complete until the pieces are reassembled and bonded with a golden filigree
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