When I think of a Masterpiece, these words come to mind; timeless, beautiful, inspiring, perfection, one of a kind. A masterpiece can touch someone’s soul.
Shortly after I graduated from college, I was given the opportunity to travel abroad. For four weeks, we toured England, France, Italy, Austria and Germany. While touring, we experienced many masterpieces of art, literature, architecture and music. I remember seeing the Mona Lisa for the first time. We walked into The Louvre knowing that we would have the opportunity to gaze upon one of the most famous paintings in all of history. Our anticipation grew as we climbed the stairway to the gallery where she was displayed. Upon arrival, I was struck by the number of people waiting to get a tiny glimpse of this woman. They had their cameras waiting to capture the moment. They wanted to be able to share this moment with friends and family, but also to have a record of the fact that “Yes, I have seen the Mona Lisa”. While in Austria, we visited the birthplace of Mozart where we heard the brilliant and expressive tunes of such a master of music. While in italy, we gazed upon La Pieta and Michelangelo’s David, pieces of artwork that will forever remind me that there is a God. The numerous Duomos (cathedrals) throughout Italy were a reminder that there was blood, sweat, and tears put into building glorious houses for our Lord; each one different but exquisitely beautiful in their own way. There is definitely some amount of pride in witnessing something considered a masterpiece.
Since Christmas, I have seen the death of several people. They were from different families, different age groups, lived in different parts of the world, had different faith backgrounds and had different reasons for their deaths; some were very shocking while others had followed long illnesses. The one thing they all had in common; their lives were a masterpiece. Hearing stories from their loved ones of living life without limits, deep faith in God, love for humanity, spending quality time with their family and friends, giving charitably without expecting anything in return, teaching their children what it means to have character, and so much more. Their lives were timeless, beautiful, inspiring, perfect, and one-of-a-kind. They knew what was most valuable in life; living a life filled with love. I remember at each visitation and funeral having a similar type of experience as I did that day in France; people lined up to tell stories of their loved one, needing to speak to the families to tell them how important that person was in their life, beautiful flowers symbolizing beautiful lives, pictures of adventures, birthday parties, graduations, holidays, vacations, and weddings. Every person just needing to say “Yes, I knew them. They changed me. They lived a masterpiece.” Each person carrying a beautiful snapshot of a memory of moments they shared with their loved one. Each of these loved ones had touched someone else’s soul in a deep way.
I want to live a masterpiece of a life. At the end of our days, isn’t that what everyone wants; to look back and say “That was a masterpiece”. A masterpiece is one-of-a-kind, each one is unique and wonderful in its own right. For me, I think it comes down to love. If I love Jesus, I should make time for Him each and every day. If I love my children, I should give them 100% of my attention when they need it. If I love my husband, I should give him grace when life calls for it. If I love my family, I should reach out to them to stay in touch. If I love my friends, they should know they can trust me with anything. If I love my community, I should give back charitably. If I love my church, I should invite others to come and see what has created a change in me. Each one of these ideas of “love” is it’s own color of the rainbow in a brilliant painting, a note in a beautiful opera, a cornerstone of a cathedral of God, or a word in a classical piece of literature. Each piece by itself is not enough, but when all pieces come together, it sets something in motion that is extraordinarily magnificent. What does a masterpiece of a life look like to you? As my favorite shirt says, “One life is all we have to live.” How will you and I choose to use it?