A couple years ago, at the OKC Art Museum, we saw an exhibit of works done by artists commissioned by the WPA during the days of the Great Depression. I was surprised at their quality and moved by the stories they told.
There was one piece that I found quite unpleasant but now I can’t forget of an old woman peeling potatoes. It was a dark image, almost silhouetted, but I could see her hands were covered with wounds she had sustained over the years from her arduous work. The artist showed them as if the wounds had never healed but stayed fresh, with more added each year. Her face was the same way.
The artist wanted us to remember that period of history and not get over it quickly because the people of our past suffered in part to give us our present and future.
I get the message. It’s important. But I’m a minister and I want people to get better.
I wanted to reach into the canvass to take the wounded hands of that woman. I wanted to place my palms on her cheeks and kiss her scarred forehead. I wanted to tell her she was not alone, that she was loved, and that her work and life was important.
It’s impossible to do that to the woman in the picture. It’s pretty hard to convey a blessing of worth to each other in the present time. But surely it’s not impossible.