February 7, 2014
Some years ago I went on a cruise where passengers have the opportunity to stop at different ports along the way. Some ports are interesting places to go and some, well, let’s just say it’s just better to stay on the boat during those stops. But one particular port, somewhere in the Caribbean, was so beautiful that I decided to get off for a bit and go exploring. Near the dock were a series of several shops. Some sold jewelry, some perfume, and some were the touristy, T-shirt kind of shops. But there was a little art place that caught my eye. The paintings in the window were so beautiful and captivating I found myself opening the door and going in to explore further. As I looked around I saw the same painting that was in the window displayed all over the store. There must have been fifty or so of the same Caribbean seascape at sunset. It was truly a beautiful piece. As I got closer to one of the pieces, I noticed that it was almost as perfect as a painting could be. Framed in a lovely complimentary frame, it was breathtaking. When I looked at the price, I was shocked that it was so cheap. I think it was something like $25 for a large, framed portrait. I couldn’t believe it. It looked so much more expensive. As I continued to walk around the shop, another piece caught my eye. It was the same painting I had been seeing, but it was different somehow. It was a little rougher in nature—you could see a smudge here and there that the other paintings didn’t have. There was no beautiful frame; it was just a canvas with frayed edges. In a way it looked tackier than the other paintings that I had seen that were so perfect and smudge-less. I remember thinking to myself, Wow, if the others are only $25, this must be $2 or $3. But to my surprise, the price tag said it was $2000! I couldn’t believe it. I thought there must be a mistake on the price tag, I asked the clerk, “Why are these perfect paintings so much cheaper than this one?” She quickly and enthusiastically replied, “Oh, it’s because the artist actually touched this canvas with his own hands. The others are just reproductions and have many of the flaws airbrushed out. You see,” she continued, “it is the flaws and the imperfections that make it authentic. It is because of those smudges and ‘mistakes’ that we know it is the real thing. It is the work of the master artist, and the painting is exactly how he created it.” OK, can you say spiritual analogy here, or what? I so wanted to buy the more valuable painting but instead I bought a small reproduction to remind me of that moment. I came away from that art store vowing to myself that I would always strive to be real and authentic, even if that meant my flaws and imperfections would show. There are so many days that I would love to airbrush out so much on the canvas of my life. So many days when I would love to wipe away those imperfections and smudges. . . . I pray today that, as you embrace your flaws and imperfections, that you will remember and know in your deepest knowing that God is the master artist. You have been touched by His hand—that’s what makes you real. It is His touch that makes you authentic, flaws and all. Amen and amen! Excerpt from Nothing is Impossible. © 2010 by Women of Faith (Thomas Nelson) Used by permission.