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Happily, I discovered one of many expressions of Vincent van Gogh’s angst shared in a letter with his brother Theo, his sole confidante:

“There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by only see a wisp of smoke through the chimney, and go along their way. Look here, now, what must be done? Must one tend the inner fire, have salt in oneself, wait patiently yet with how much impatience for the hour when somebody will come and sit down near it—maybe to stay? Let him who believes in God wait for the hour that will come sooner or later.”  Letter # 155 from The Letters of Vincent van Gogh (1873 – 1890).

The great fire in our soul references the presence of the Sacred that van Gogh experienced in prayer and its extension in oils on canvases and other mediums. He knew the inner fire and the salt in oneself, both biblical images,that fueled his passion to explore the untried; but the impermanence of this state provoked impatience, and this letter seemed to have emanated from one of his dry spells. Still, van Gogh painted, subjects that caught his imagination, whether indoors or outdoors, at times, striking his passion into flame.

The oil-on-canvas, Plain Near Auvers (1890 – the year of his death) attracted my attention. Variants of greens, blues, yellows, and whites caught the dynamism of a peasant’s fields, with crows flitting among grasses in the foreground. The uncertainty of the sky escalates the drama: the Sacred surprises as in our lives. Note in the right-hand corner the addition of three red roses in the grasses.

Vincent van Gogh’s willingness to participate in the Creator’s plan, with broad brushstrokes and heavy pigments, challenges me to deepen my gift of writing in the time allotted me.  

Plink—Plink—Plinkk—Plankkk … It was happening again—the raindrops—upon the chimney cover plate above me: soft, feathery at first, then pounding like hooves of galloping horses in the wilds. I hurried to the window and looked out. Not only would thirsty trees and shrubs benefit, but my psyche, always in need of deep watering, would thrive. Enthusiasm mounted. But that was weeks ago. In recent years prolonged dry spells have warded off such drenchings in our area.

This morning, though, an unexpected excitement seized me while listening to the radio: Cuban Landscape with Rain that was written by the Afro-Cuban composer and conductor Leo Brouwer. Despite the waning sun’s hastening dryness, for seven minutes it was raining in my study, thanks to the giftedness of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. I was saturated with Beauty. It felt good …

YouTube has many presentations of Cuban Landscape with Rain for your inspiration.

While I was dozing atop my bed, my blinds slating the afternoon sun, soft tendrils of a violin solo nudged my spirit into shimmering realms. Eyes closed, motionless, l listened lest I interrupt the visit, for that’s what it was—I was in the presence of Beauty. Forever passed in a flash as Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D Minor (1947) concluded with its virtuoso climax. Slowly, I opened my eyes, turned off the radio, and stirred my toes.

What had been an ordinary day morphed me within ecstasy, my senses enlarged, my breathing expanded. No matter my chronic conditions, I felt whole.  

Such experience speaks to the critical importance of feeding beauty to our psyches, wherever gleaned—the arts or sacred texts or the outdoors. Such nurturance opens us to the transpersonal in our lives and we thrive until the next dry spell with its antidote.  

Our God is generous …

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