Van Gogh's Mistake

I'm a frist-born child. As I understand things, first-born children tend to be perfectionists. Now, I'm not the kind of perfectionist who freezes up for fear of doing something perfectly. But I don't like the flaws I have. I don't like to admit I have any; I try to hide them instead of acknowledge them.

A while ago I heard someone talking about a Vincent Van Gogh painting that is in the collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (for the life of me I can't remember if this was overhearing a tour going on there or hearing someone else talking about it). There's a painting of his called Olive Groves. Van Gogh made a glaring mistake with the painting. 

I didn't notice it until it was pointed out. Look closely (this isn't the whole painting, but it shows what you need to see). Do you see it? No? Look at the sun. Now look at the shadows that fall from the trees. 

They don't lie in the right direction. According to the direction of the shadows, the sun should be on the left side of the painting, but it's right over head. Van Gogh made a mistake. And his mistake hangs in a museum. 

The Amish traditionally always include a mistake in the quilts they make. They do it under the premise that only God is perfect. 
This isn't a bad thing to remember about myself as well. I don't need to be perfect. I can still be a masterpiece wiith flaws and mistakes. God is perfect; I am not, but that doesn't mean I'm not worthwhile. These are lessons I need to keep in front of me, otherwise I forget them. 
I have people who know my character defects--they hear about them often. It doesn't matter to them, though. I always think that if people know those things about me, then they'll not like me any more. But that's not true. People still like the authentic me--flaws and all. 
I often fear that those character defects make me so flawed that I'd be undisplayable. Van Gogh's art, mistake and all, is still displayable. Whenever I'm at the art institute, I try to make it to the room the painting is in. It's still a masterpiece; I still enjoy looking at it. 
Sometimes I need the reminder that God feels the same about me.


K said...

I loved this, Dave. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

Rev. Dave said...

Thanks, K. It's good to hear from you.