Henri Nouwen said, "There can hardly be a better image of caring than that of the artist who brings new life to people by his honest and fearless self-portrait."
To illustrate this point, Nouwen used the great Dutch artist Rembrandt, who painted his sixty-three self-portraits not just as “a model for studies in expression” but as a “search for the spiritual through the channel of his innermost personality.”
Rembrandt knewt he had to enter into his own self, venture deep down into his dark cellars as well as play around into his brightly lit living room, if he was going to penetrate the mystery of human interiority. Blacks were not simply black. And there was not one single, definable color called white. There were endless, infinite shades of gray.
Nouwen wrote, "While growing in age the artist was more and more able to touch the core of the human experience, in which individuals in their misery can recognize themselves and find courage and new youth."
He concludes by reminding us that "We will never be able to really care if we are not willing to paint and repaint constantly our self-portrait, not as a morbid self-preoccupation, but as a service to those who are searching for some light in the midst of the darkness."
We have to remember that what we paint today isn't necessarily what we will paint tomorrow. We all start out with a blank canvas, but not many of us end up with a muddy blend of finger painting mess we were first known for.
White is one color.
Black is one color.
But gray is an infinity of colors.
Infinite colors means infinite choices.
Infinite ways to succeed.
Infinite ways to fail.
And infinite ways to succeed from those failures.
Infinite ways to feel and see.
Infinite ways to behave.
Infinite ways to care.
Infinite ways to hate.
Infinite ways to to make amends and reparations.
Infinite ways to redeem
And return to the infinite goodness
that we once were.
But what we will become?
Gray is the infinite possibilities
of God‘s greatness.
Possibilities that mix well with any color equally.
Because gray is part of the infinite.
Gray cannot be unequal or unjust.
Only we can when we refuse to see our hue.
We do not live in white skin.
We do not live in black skin.
We live in various shades of gray.
In skin woven by a God of every color
To live an infinite life in every shade.
We live in between and side by side
We live the infinite possibilities
which God has gifted to us.
Mixing together into various tones
and welcoming shades of endless
and boundless beauty.
by ian macdonald, 062.620
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"...how he went about doing good..."