Sunday, January 12, 2014

Art of a smile

There are times in life when the greatest gain comes from the smallest gift. Several years ago a dog wondered into my yard. I live near a busy road, so I got the dog inside and found a neighbor who knew the owner of the dog. I left a message and, when he returned home, he came to get his pooch. He brought with him a lovely bowl, that he had made, as a thank you gift.

Today I saw that man again. I hadn't seen him since that day. There was a beautiful bowl on the table near him and I asked if I could touch it. I relayed that story to him and his family. He sat up, looked at me and said, "I did that once. Do you live in the green house?" The room instantly filled with smiles and laughter, as we realized it was his dog I had rescued that day.

Art is such a gift. I remember as a child thinking that my mother told me that homemade gifts were the best kind in order to salve my pride of not being able to get store bought. Now I meet so many people who wish they could do one hand craft or another. I realize that store bought has created a fear of not being good enough. "I could never paint for other people, I'm not good enough." Yet, in creating these things, imperfection becomes beauty. Art is defined by the beholder, as is beauty.

The soul of the creator is felt in the materials as you touch them. I feel it in the wood work of my father. The embroidery of my mother. My sisters knitting, another's painting, and another's wood shop mirror with my name on it. In blanket on my bed, made by Tammy. And in that bowl. Made by man who loves his dog, and was grateful someone took care of her. That simple bowl is a symbol of love and gratitude.

I look around my home at the beautiful art contributed by so many hands. They fill my world with love. There are beautiful store bought gifts as well. Things carefully chosen with me in mind. One doesn't trump the other. All have meaning and value.

Then there are gifts that transcend things. A kind word, a hug, a pat on the back. Each an expression of humanity. "A smile can be art.", that gentleman philosophized to his daughter. Indeed.

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