Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Day and Night (07/10/14)
TITLE: The Starry Night
By Jody Day
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"It's inspiring, isn't it?" He whispered as though we stood in church. The gold flecks sparkling in his blue eyes seemed a reflection of the painting before us.
"What do you see?" He stood a step closer to me and pulled me to the art.
"I see Van Gogh's The Starry Night." Everybody knows that, right?
"Ah, young man, you can do better than that. What do you see?"
I'd play along. Besides I was anxious to show off my knowledge. "Well, actually I see the night time view of Saint-Remy-de-Provence from the window of Van Gogh's sanitorium."
"Actually that's what you know, what your brain knows. To enjoy a work of art you must look at it with your heart. Look again. What do you see?" He folded both hands over his chest.
I'd spent my whole college life filing away facts about modern art. I knew more about the artists and traditional interpretations than personal reflections. What do I see?
"It's the genius talent of a very troubled man. Observed at night and painted from memory by day." Would that satisfy him?
"Ah, I like that, yes. The light of the night manifests in the day." A smile lifted his wrinkled cheeks. He nodded as he stroked his chin.
His countenance seemed to put him down into the village in the south of France, looking up at the exaggerated stars. I had to ask.
"What do you see?" What pulled him into the scene?
He put his hand on my shoulder and took a slow, soft breath. "The people of the village fill the night with prayers. Their praise swirls and shines in the velvet night. The golden light brings a bright faith in the morning."
"You say it as though it's a fact."
"The fact is, and I think Vincent knew it, that the heavens declare the glory of God. If he didn't know it in 1889, I'm sure he knows it now. I hope you know it."
Whoa. This old man's "heart seeing" intrigued me. What was in his heart that gave him such insight? Suddenly my prized education paled. I had to talk more to this dreamy eyed gentleman.
Over coffee that afternoon I learned about how the One who made the sun and the stars loves me. Suddenly I had a heart that could see. Now everything looks different.
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