These wisps of diamonds and platinum are the final curls of a bird’s tail in a massive, bold broach from the Brilliant exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. The entire broach is of diamonds, and yet at the end of this tail are these two green stones sparkling like green-wigged transvestites in pink pants at a republican convention. They are beautiful, but they do not fit in. And that is what I love about them.
We so often fall prey to the gravity of the heart in which we are drawn down into the weight of mediocrity or limiting beliefs. We can so easily be come exhausted or insecure and begin to follow the herd like so many cattle on the way into the stock show (here in Denver this month.) We lumber along, heads down, feet lumping heavily with one step and then another; in step with so many others silently being led by some cow so far ahead that we can barely see them in the dust clouds.
But to be different, to be a bit odd or eccentric can be so liberating. This is the secret gift of monasticism – the willingness to be eccentric, to be outside the center. Sure, some do that to get attention, but the irony of that twisted eccentricity is that the rest of us can see and sense that in a heart beat and so its difference fades like coffee steam in a strong wind. But to really march to one’s own drummer with real authenticity seems to me to be sacramental to our created wonderfulness. We each have a magic to offer to the planet, to our friends and to our loved ones. So too we each have a magic to offer to our work place and even our pets and to strangers. The extent to which we live out that strangeness is the extent to which we live at all.
To make a contract with mediocrity and dullness by somehow stifling our sparkle, our difference, our quirkiness is to volunteer our soul to the executioner’s block.
There is much that is conventional about me, like many diamonds in silver, all sparkly but similar to any other diamond. And yet there are these wonderful parts of me that sparkle with a determined green, daring the planet to object. And in all of us. And when we offer ourselves to God daily in our request to exist for one more day, and when God nods in that gentle way with that slight smirk on His face, I am reminded that He too loves that strangeness about us – that sparkle of defiant green where green is unexpected, perhaps even unwelcome in the crowd but celebrated in the artistry of life. When we sparkle in defiance of mediocrity and dull sameness, angels dance, giggle and point with the kind of joy which makes one dance naked in a summer rain, jumping from puddle to puddle just to make more drops airborne.
And then sometimes I find myself setting a nearly impossible, outrageous goal – something which makes my friends shake their heads. And I realize that the courage it took to set and meet that goal (or try) came from the green lights within me, that ineffable part of me that defies convention and wonders what is possible – that has yet to occur -which might make the planet a slightly better place, a few people a slight bit happier, the world just a tinny bit more beautiful, boring people just a bit more annoyed.