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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Stone Cut Out of the Mountain Pt. II

Well, I have to tell you, my determination really paid off.  Tell me how this sounds: I was abandoned, neglected, and rarely talked about for 25 years while the big wigs tried to figure out what to do with me.  And not only that, I was abandoned and neglected outside!  In the elements!  Sounds great, right?  You're right.  It wasn't great.  I remember thinking to myself, "Well, you really showed them up, didn't you?  All this rain and wind and snow and blazing sun are really doing wonders for my texture and durability!  What was I thinking?!"  And so for 25 long years I sat there, worthless, dejected and beaten by the storms. 

The turn of the sixteenth century (that's 1500 for all you math whizzes out there) found me less-than enthused; in fact, I had just about given up hope on ever becoming anything more than a poorly-formed, misshapen hunk of rock.  Then one day, the patrons of the cathedral where I was stationed came rushing in, shouting the name of some new artist they had found--"a real prodigy! a Master!" they had said.  Well you can bet how excited I was after being treated by the last "master" they'd sent my way, but I figured anything at this point would be better than what I'd been doing for the last two-and-a-half decades.  They acclaimed him as the most promising sculptor of the new age ("Renaissance", they called it), for he had completed a most beautiful statue the year prior, which they called La Pieta.  I was intrigued by their accolades, but held my peace until I could see firsthand who this man really was. 

They called him "Michelangelo".

I will never forget that September morning when that graceful young man approached me on the sculpting platform.  He was so different than the last man who had come to chisel on me that for a while I was simply stunned by his demeanor.  He didn't even touch the chisel that first day.  I will never forget this as long as I stand: he came up and greeted me, calling me his friend.  He then laid his hands on my sides, not in a probing, caustic way, but with the touch of a Master--I don't know how to explain it other than that.  He examined what had been done on my corner so long ago by the other sculptor, shaking his head and saying he had done me wrong.  Then he sat down, with his back against mine, pondering and sketching on paper how he would work his plan; every stroke of his charcoal, every look and every movement seemed to be calculated with divine precision.  He considered my every angle and niche; where my marbling was most durable and where it was weaker; and even some qualities I had not recognized in myself.  He spoke his thoughts, not to himself, but to me, as if he felt my considerations were important.  I tell you, I was so enraptured by this young man's care, that when he left that day, I longed for him to return.  It was an experience that caught me quite off-guard.

As the extra stone came down, so did the walls
 I had built around my heart
As the weeks passed, I began to see that it was not just his preparation that was calculated and caring, but his execution as well.  He worked his plan with great skill and precision, knocking off every bit of excess that I could not help but be grateful that the superfluous stone was gone.  As the chunks of extra stone came down, so did the walls I had built around my heart toward this Master.  Sure, the chiseling was still uncomfortable, but he made sure I was becoming something more, something worthy of the highest accolades and honors.  Oftentimes I would get frustrated, not knowing where his chisel would fall, and when it did, why he would strike there, but in time I learned to trust his skill and rely on his masterful plan; indeed, I began to see myself shaping into the form of someone graceful and mighty, as I never had before supposed.

Truly this was what I was meant to become.

To be continued...

Image from http://www.carraramarble.it/images_en/products/blocks/marbles_bianco_venato_standard.jpg

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