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My brother does the maintenance here at St. Clement. Once a week after work he grabs me, and we go to the art museum. Usually, when you go to the museum, you run around from room to room looking at all the pictures and then you go home. We do not do that. We go in a room and look at two or three pictures and go home. This is what I do when I stand in front of a picture. I ask myself what is the story.

How can a picture tell a story you ask? There is no dialogue, there are no scene changes. How does the artist convey a message with one frame? That is why I only look at one or two pictures when I go to the museum. I have to look at all the details. Why is the teacup on its side and not upright? Why did the bumblebee land on a leaf and not on the flower? Oh, I see the reflection of someone’s face in the champagne bottle – so the room is not empty: someone is in there. Every detail in the painting is a clue. When I leave the museum, I feel like I had a conversation with an artist. I walk away with a message.

I say this because we can approach life as if we are going to the art museum. We can run around and get as much done as we can, or we can stop and look at our story and have a conversation with God. The Samaritan woman in the Gospel is running a bit late. It is noontime and she still has to fetch the water. She can simply ignore the Jewish man sitting at the well, but she stops and has a conversation with him. She looks deeply at her life, her story. She has had five husbands, she needs water every day, she finds out that she could have eternal life, and a place where everyone can go to worship where everyone is welcome. She took a look at her life and walked away with a message from the divine artist.

We can use these days to approach life, the way my brother and I go to the museum. Stop and look carefully at the details and see the story of your life and have a conversation with the divine artist.     

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