Tuesday, September 01, 2009

How It Makes Me Feel

It would appear that in the Bank Holiday TV ratings, ITV with its lavish production of “Wuthering Heights” lost out to the BBC with its one off drama “Framed”. I just happened to be watching “Framed” and I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The story began with the National Gallery being flooded out due to a leaky roof. They decided to temporarily store the gallery's precious paintings in a disused slate mine in Wales – which is what Churchill did during the war – and I have been to said diused mine! The curator, played by Trevor Eve, had the job of living in a nearby cottage and looking after the artwork and choosing one of the paintings to be sent back to the gallery in London for viewing every month.

The curator saw the paintings in terms of the quality of brush strokes, the clever use of colour, the arrangement of objects on the canvas or unusual perspectives.

Later on in the drama, the butcher from the little nearby town was allowed to see some of the paintings in the mine. A picture by Monet of a boating lake reduced him to tears, and it turned out that his son had died in the village boating pool and he had been responsible for having the place closed on health and safety grounds. Seeing the picture brought back all the memories. The picture made him feel, not the loss of his son, but the loss of something in himself, a kind of gradual shutting down of so many aspects of his life.

I can remember having “Art Appreciation” lessons at school. Yes, in art classes, we got to play with paint and other forms of media, but there were times when we got to look at famous pictures. They were just prints of the pictures – not the real thing. I just remember that I didn’t get it. I couldn’t seem to see the quality of the brush strokes or the clever use of colour! I failed to appreciate the art!

Looking at the butcher, looking at the Monet picture, and looking at the tears flowing – I got it! Art is about how it makes you feel!

A friend and I had a long discussion over a delicious (and expensive) slice of cake the other day. We were talking about religion. He is not religious and went to great lengths to explain why he believed the Bible was outdated, had been changed often to suit the politics of the day and did I know that men had swapped and changed bits of it to keep the poor, or the women, in their place? I have done a theology degree and I know such stuff. The one question that I didn’t ask was “How much of the Bible have you actually read?”

It seems to me that my friend was rather like the art curator. He could talk about textual criticism and translation and the politics of the day. Me? I am like the butcher. I read the Bible and it makes me feel things.

I see aspects of my own life reflected in its words. I see challenges to tackle. I see solutions to the problems I face. I see questions I don’t know the answer to. I see things that make me cry, sometimes with joy, sometimes with sorrow. Sometimes I feel that I will never measure up – and sometimes I realise that I don’t need to. I see God’s grace on every page.

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