The Art of Holding Life

Mar 23, 2020 at 09:00 am by Paulette Jackson

Hold Life
~by Paulette Jackson

Hold Life
Caring for the needs
of each day

Hold Life
For it is fragile and vulnerable
to winds that might blow it away

Hold Life
For the sweetness of communion
with those we love

Hold Life
charting the course
to a destination
our Hope
a blessed sanctuary
in a jarring world.

The painting above, titled The Injured Clown, is by Georges Rouault. Being from the same generation as many of the twentieth-century giants of art, he was also shaped by the same influences.

But while much of art moved in the direction of something that was, pretty and entertaining, but less involved with “life”, Rouault, was drawn to the moral and social problems of mankind. The human condition, of good, evil, suffering, redemption, hypocrisy, resignation, faith and justice, were all, his subject matter.

“Painting,” he said, “is not always like that plate, whether found or commonplace, hanging on the wall. And joy is not merely a felicitous arabesque, or a harmonious rhythm against a serene sky. So called beauty quickly degenerates into academicism when we no longer look at nature, no longer closely observe the life and motion of the human creature.”

Having a deep connection with his subject, Rouault saw in each one, the heart-rending side of humanity.

Regarding himself, he wrote to a friend; “I saw clearly, the “clown” was myself, ourselves, almost all of us, that this rich spangled costume, is given us by life, we’re all of us clowns, more or less, we all wear a “spangled costume,” but if we are caught unawares, the way I caught the old clowns, tell me! Who would dare to claim that he is not moved to his very depths by immeasurable pity! My failing, (if it be a failing; in any case, is a source of immense suffering for me!) is never to let anyone keep on his “spangled costume.”

Currently, our country and our lives are experiencing the weight of anxieties and uncertainties regarding illnesses, economics, politics, jobs and lifestyles. Trying to cope can often look like displaying our spangled costume, perhaps in an effort to not concern others, or to offer ourselves a distraction from the feared unknowns and what-ifs that may cloud our days, our hearts, minds, our souls, as well as our love.

We are also reminded of our humanness – the meaning and value of our being, the gift of each other, the depth of our love and the vulnerability of our one, precious life.

So let us hold life, all of our lives; gently, tenderly, joyfully and courageously, holding on to our hope and our Sanctuary in a jarring world. For we are all injured clowns, and very much need each other.

For the Support of Your Life
For the Many Sides of Life
Paulette Jackson

The photo above, The Injured Clown, 1932, is from: Rouaul’t by Pierre Courthion, page 258.


or Register to post a comment