Monday, November 3, 2014

Expect a Masterpiece

Image by Barnaby Wasson


"When love and skill work together; expect a masterpiece." -- John Ruskin


It was reported that one man was killed and another wounded in the Philippines when a fight broke out at a karaoke bar in Manila over the quality of the singing. The fighting evidently broke out when a group of drinkers claimed the man at the microphone was singing out of tune. Many karaoke clubs in the country have already removed Frank Sinatra's "My Way" from their play lists because of fistfights as the song was being performed. There was apparently no tolerance to let them sing it "their way."

While it's true that some people perhaps believe themselves to be talented in ways they clearly are not, that is not the case with most of us. People frequently lament that they have little or no talent; that they possess no "gifts" or unique abilities. Too many of us see ourselves as having little to contribute beyond our jobs. Too often we feel that we will make little difference in this world because we have nothing to offer.

But then there's a young woman I read about named Mary. Mary has Down syndrome. She is a volunteer teacher at a school she herself attended many years ago. Mary works with 2- and 3-year-olds, some of whom are developmentally delayed and some are not. Among other tasks, she helps with puzzles, reads stories and teaches her students a variety of athletic activities. "We care about little kids here," she says. "We set examples for them."

Mary does not say that she has nothing to offer; she knows better. And I suspect she knows that it does not matter WHAT talents and abilities any of us has, but what we DO with them that counts.

John Ruskin correctly says, "When love and skill work together; expect a masterpiece." Mary takes what skill she has, combines it with a heart full of love, and gives it away as a masterpiece.

Now … who can't do that?

-- Steve Goodier


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