Wikipedia says, “Sister Wendy Beckett (born 25 February 1930) is a South African-born British art expert, consecrated virgin and contemplative hermit who became a celebrity during the 1990s, presenting a series of acclaimed art history documentaries for the BBC.”
She’s an art historian of the highest caliber because of her knowledge, yes, but also because of her abundant enlivening enthusiasm for art. For Sister Wendy art gives life meaning. And to that I say a Glory Hallelujah. Art is necessary for human life because art reflects humanity to itself and enables us to perceive meaning.
You can imagine, I’m sure, that it didn’t surprise me to read this notion from Sister Wendy: “There is no lasting peace that does not rest upon a sense of life having meaning.”
I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again (and again). Humans can live without a lot of things, but meaning is not one of them. We need meaning in order to keep going. Without meaning, there is no reason to keep going.
The notion of a lasting peace intrigued me for several reasons. My first thought was having a whole peaceful day – just me, myself and I. Just me, being peace-filled, for 24 hours. I can’t imagine what that feels like. Does the peace itself last? Or do I last into peace? Often, I think, we put peace last because it can feel like such a faraway goal.
There is original artwork all over my house, artwork I live with day in and day out. Figures. Flowers. Even a portrait of me. When I seem to be outlasting the possibility of peace or peace seems far off from me, one of the easiest “fixes” is to fall into artwork that addresses the human condition.
Thanks, Sister Wendy, may your peace last forever.
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