Eyes of the Beholder

It was a warm, sunny day recently and I was out in the yard hula hooping. I do this from time to time as a form of exercise. As I was hoping it up I was contemplating whether we would have snow for Christmas. (As you might know, it wasn’t real recently.) Then I thought back to an incident in art class in ninth grade that had to do with snow. We were working with water colors. Our teacher was instructing us how to paint pictures of snow. If I remember correctly, he told us to use a lot of water and add just a drop or two of blue and black colors, then apply it gently to the picture in a wide swath. Well, my friend and I were contemplating what picture we were going to paint, as neither of us considered ourselves an artist, or even especially talented. I was looking through one of my textbooks and came across a picture of a dump truck plowing through a snowy road and decided that was what I was going to paint. So I did as I thought the teacher had instructed and, once the truck was on the page, applied the concoction of colors. Eek! The water in the brush got out of control and I ended up with a huge blob where the snow line was supposed to be. I looked at Charlene and she looked at me. Between gasps and giggles, I tried to mop up my mess. Still, there was, not just a wide swath of muted colors, but a VERY wide swath of dark blue. I was horrified. I was resigned to getting an F for the grading period. As Charlene and I went to art class the next week, we were discussing our pictures and what kind of grade we would get on them. As they were being passed out, I kept looking for mine without success. Lo and behold! It was up on the wall on display with some others that were really good renditions. I looked at Charlene and she looked at me. We giggled again. Turns out, the mistake wasn’t so bad, after all. Beauty must have been in the eyes of the beholder—especially the teacher’s. At least, it wasn’t an impressionist painting, or who knows what it would have looked like. If I remember correctly, I got an A for that grading period. Well, I think a lot of times, what we consider to be a mistake can turn out to be a new invention. It brings to mind the wheel, fire, the light bulb, nuclear fission (or whatever you call it). I don’t think we should take on a mission with the intention of making a mistake, but we can figure out what we can learn from it. I think the clue is that we shouldn’t be afraid of trying because we’re afraid of making a mistake. And I don’t think we should worry about what others will think so much that we’re afraid to try. We just might come up with a new invention, or a new process, or a new cure. I’m just sayin’.

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