A Work of Art


Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez

I remembered one of my last trips to Madrid, Spain when I took my in-laws Victor and Paty with us in one of the incredible vacations I used to have while working at Continental Airlines. Of course we walked all around Madrid and we left the last day to visit El Museo del Prado (The Prado Museum). This museum holds a large numbers of the finest works of Diego Velázquez, Francisco Goya and El Greco. I was expecting to spend a couple of hours visiting the place, but I never realized the love my father in law Victor had for these kind of paintings.

In front of every painting there is a bench where people can seat. I always thought those were for people who were tired of walking, but in reality are for people who would like to observe in detail these works. So Victor will come to the painting and seat at the bench and stare at it, for 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or even more than one hour; in silence. Of course after four hours I was exhausted, but before I gave up on him I decided to put in practice his technique. I sat down in front of Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez, and stared at it, not only to see this wonderful creation, but to observe every detailed. Suddenly without even notice it, a whole hour passed and I was still staring at it. Before this time of contemplation I just knew it as the paintings of the midgets girls. After giving me the opportunity to observe beyond my first impression, I was astonished with the beauty of this peace of art. But before you conclude that I did the rest of the paintings using this method, I will tell you that it was not like that. I was so tired that I told Paula I was going to be waiting for them in the car. Six hours later Mr. Victor finished to enjoy this great museum.

Well, this made me think that I am a man created out of God’s image, not according to any other way of what people think is God’s perfect image, because that way is limited; but God’s way is diverse and unlimited. I am part of the diverse world He created.

This diverse creator welcomes people from all kind of traditions, personalities, color of skin, ideologies,and lifestyles. We can not place human standards to His creativity; it is just impossible. If we take a walk to the hillsides of any mountains, or to the beautiful sandy beaches we will see everywhere the immensity of His creation.

So how come we say God could not created this or that? Where do we started to place limits on God’s creative gift? We decide who should be members of our churches and who won’t ever be. Who will be ordained and who will not according to our perceptions of how the final master piece of God should be. I am so sorry but I can not undertand where do we get the power to advice God what brushes and paintings He needs to change or erase. Are we trying to be co-authors of God’s creation?, so at the end of our lives we can feel proud of how well we maintain his creation. The more I read Christ’s Gospels the more grace I get, and a better understanding of the intense traces He has done to this portray call humanity.

So, I am part of His master painting with all my flaws and imperfections, strengths and gifts, with my decisions and doubts, sorrows and complaints. I am part of this diversity. Before you try to convince yourself of the wrongness of others, just seat down and enjoy the painting. Do not place your own understanding of how he painted His creation. You were not there when He did it, so just observe every detailed and hopefully after a couple hours, days or years you will realize the splendid beauty of our humanness.

So I invite you to take your time to observe His work, do not place your opinions or art expertise in it, just in silence and contemplation try to see how God decided to paint each one of us, and enjoy the many traces of diversity we have among us.

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