Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

It was Friday the 13th, and I found myself in The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, also affectionately known as The Modern to those of the artsy variety. (Note: I learned this from a t-shirt in the museum gift shop, as I certainly am not the artsy sort.) My real reason for being at the museum is far too risky to be published for the tens of people who might actually read this post, so if you’re curious then you’ll have to ask me in person. Suffice it to say, it was not of my own volition and it’s highly likely that I might win the MOTY award because of it. And, The Modern, just happened to be the closest major museum to the Fort Worth Stockyards which was my official destination that day. 

Anywho. Moving on.

I was definitely on a mission in the museum. Capture at least six pictures of art and get back on IH-35 to avoid the dreaded Friday afternoon DFW traffic. So, I quickly paid the $10 admission fee, seriously unhappy as that was almost half the price of the pair of flip-flops at Payless Shoes that I’d been coveting, but the shoes, while quite cute, weren’t likely to win me the MOTY award. And, they would also require some “splainin” since I already have quite a collection of flip-flops.

I approached the docent (that’s fancy museum talk for volunteer) at the entrance to the exhibits and inquired about the best place to begin if I only needed six quick pictures of “art.” He looked at me as if that was the dumbest question he’d heard all day, but nonetheless replied politely, “Just go straight ahead. Oh, and you might want to avoid the 2nd floor due to explicit artwork.” Duly noted.

Not to be deterred, straight ahead I went, and these were the first six things I photographed:

Swingeing (not a typo!) London 67 (Richard Hamilton)

Ladder for Booker T. Washington (Martin Puryear) 
Self-Portrait (Francis Bacon) 
Curved Red on Blue (Ellsworth Kelly)
Aschenblume (Anselm Kiefer) 
Book with Wings (Anselm Kiefer)

Now is a good time for me to say this. I have no clue who any of these artists are, nor what their artwork is worth, but I had my six pictures and I was headed out the door.

Well, maybe not as fast as I hoped. After snapping the last picture, a second docent approached me. This time it was a very hip and artsy-looking college-age girl. With a slight laugh, she said, “You look like a woman on a mission. I’ve never seen anyone come through here so fast.” I replied with an all-out laugh and told her my reason for the visit. (Note: It’s highly unlikely I’ll ever bump into this chic again, so my secret was safe with her.) She confirmed what I already thought to be true. Definite MOTY possibility. But, she didn’t let me off the hook without “splainin” about a few of the pictures I’d chosen to take. She was smart and witty, and actually, even though I didn’t really care one little bit about modern art, she had some very interesting facts and stories to share about the artwork. I walked away impressed… a little about the artwork and a lot about her.

On the way home, I got to thinking.

Every artist listed above has a momma. And, no doubt, she proudly displayed her child’s artwork on the refrigerator door and is even more proud of her child’s art today.

Thousands of people come through The Modern each year, and they spend hours truly appreciating the art.

Someone thinks the art is valuable. After all, he/she paid big bucks to build The Modern and to purchase the specific collection of artwork the museum houses.

Hmmmm… I guess I know how they came up with that old cliche.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

And, I am beyond grateful.

Not because of the artwork in The Modern, but because when I look in the mirror I can see all the imperfections – the wrinkles, the bulges, the big nose, the zit, the scar from a past surgery, you name it. And, when I reflect on who I am and what I’ve done, I can quickly note every shortcoming – the times I’ve failed miserably, the hasty words I said in anger, the laziness when it comes to helping others, the selfishness of wanting my own way, the thoughts I may not speak but think nonetheless… the list is long. Some days I struggle to see one pretty thing, one thing of value, one thing to be proud of, one thing someone else might appreciate.

But God sees the beauty in each of us. His Word tells us that He made us in His image (Genesis 1:27), that He has made everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiates 3:11), and that we are valuable to Him (Matthew 10:31).

He created a priceless work of art in each of us.

How do I know? Because He bought us with the priceless blood of His only son, Jesus Christ.

I am forever joyfully beholden to Him.

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