Preacher told a story at a wedding I attended on Saturday.
This couple was celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. Yes, they had been married for 75 years. They got married a lot younger then. When the man was asked to stand speak to the crowd of well-wishers, he spoke plainly. “I’ve been happily married for 50 years.” Silence. He sat down. End of story.
The hall full of friends and family on Saturday chuckled at the brevity of the joke, realizing that if we average out the days of our lives, we’d be lucky to have two excellent days for every difficult one.
Before the ceremony on Saturday, I was invited to tour an exhibit at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center called Coloring. There were several incredibly creative works on display, but this one took the cake. Artist Rutherford Chang collected nearly 1,000 copies of The White Album crafted by The Beatles in 1968. Chang displayed dozens of album covers on the wall (none of them perfectly white anymore) and lined the rest up in boxes down a long table, each stamped with a unique serial number.
The cool thing was that he made digital recordings of 100 of the vinyl records and layered the sounds, including pops and scratches, to blend them all into one vinyl disc. We put on headphones and listened to the “new” recording. Then, I noticed a colorful album cover on a stand near the turntable. My companion explained that the artist had done the same with the album covers by scanning in all the album covers that had been doodled on by their owners. The result was a colorful conflagration of artwork, words, and signatures. No longer white space.
When we look back on our lives, can we broaden our lens to include the wide spectrum of days that were better or worse, richer or poorer, spent in sickness or in health? Is our focus on our accumulated 50 happy years, or the 25 not so much? Take a fresh look at the culmination of your days so far as a colorful overlay of rich experiences, each one adding to the whole. Part of the collective, yet uniquely you, complete with scratches and stains. Pure artistry.
Think: What percentage of your overall life has been happy? Healthy? Rich? Do you focus on these blessings, or on the things you may have missed out on?
Say: List the highlights and low times of your life.
Do: Make a collage representing major events from your life. Clip photos from magazine, sift through photograph albums, or search online for images. When you’re done, affix these images to a large surface. Then, stand back and take a wide-angled view of the representations of your experiences. What do you see?
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