A Trick of the Light…

Author Louise Penny writes in her book,


“I had a client once, lovely man.  A commercial artist, but also a very fine creative artist…One day he asked a favor.  Could his wife put a few of her works into his next show?…I could see how important it was to him, so I relented.  Gave her a corner and a hammer… The evening of the vernissage…I walked into the room and everyone was crowded into that corner.  You can guess what happened… My client was a gifted artist.  But she was better.  Far better.” (p.74)

The story continues that the client wasn’t angry or jealous at all but his wife,

“…gave up painting.  Not only never showed again, she never painted again.  She saw the pain it had caused him, though he’d hidden it well.  His happiness was more important than her own.”

Happiness is found within and perhaps Ms. Penny’s character derived her happiness from seeing her husband happy even if it meant giving up something she was both good at and enjoyed.

Just as perhaps, she may have thought that by giving up her painting she may make her husband happy again.

She obviously had noticed the pain it had caused him.

Thus my internal discussion began!

I love a good book for stirring up the emotions, don’t you?

I would never do that, call me selfish if you like but I am a supporter of using the gifts and talents bestowed upon me by my creator.

If, by so doing, I cause pain, then let’s work through it because unless I can be true to myself and honest about it, I could never be the pure, unadulterated me I am called to be.

Bishop Anthony at Incarnation in Dallas said,

“Stand…stand on your own two feet.”

Because we are humans and relational we are influenced by everything that goes on around us.

We are diluted, pulled in too many directions and spread thinly in the name of happiness.

Happiness is ephemeral,

It can  found briefly in other people, parents, teachers, friends, pastors, children.

It can be found fleetingly in music, films, artwork, literature, sunsets.

It can be found momentarily in good food, a glass of wine, a pair of shoes, a holiday, a new house.

All these work for a while but eventually, we begin looking for something else,

then something else,

until finally…

…for me, I had to make a decision.

My happiness had to be exclusively mine.

It had to be comprised of all the complexities that make me unique.

I cannot compare myself to others and retreat into a world of misery and dependency.

Isn’t this what Yoga teaches?

Isn’t this what God teaches?

Isn’t this what every counsellor and psychologist is counselling and psychologizing?

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Be yourself!

On your own two feet!


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