Wednesday, 23 October 2013
Greatness without fame: is such a thing possible?
"Auntie, I think I should like to be a painter."
"Why?" returned his companion.
"Because then," answered the child, "I could help God to paint the sky."
What his aunt replied I do not know; for they were presently beyond my hearing. But I went on answering him myself all the way home. Did God care to paint the sky of an evening, that just a few of His children might see it, and get just a hope, just an aspiration, out of its passing green, and gold, and purple, and red? and should I think my day's labour lost, if it wrought no visible salvation in the earth?
But was the child's aspiration in vain?
Could I tell him that God did not want his help to paint the sky? True, he could mount no scaffold against the infinite of the glowing west. But might not he with his little palette and brush, when the time came, show his brothers and sisters what he had seen there, and make them see it too? Might not he thus come, after long trying, to help God to paint this glory of vapour and light inside the minds of His children?
"So for my part," I said to myself, as I walked home, "if I can put one touch of a rosy sunset into the life of [another], I shall feel that I have worked with God. He is in no haste; and if I do what I may in earnest, I need not mourn if I work no great work on the earth. Let God make His sunsets; I will mottle my little fading cloud. To help the growth of a thought as it struggles toward the light; to brush with a gentle hand the earth-stain from the white of one snowdrop -- such be my ambition! So shall I scale the rocks in front, not leave my name carved upon those behind me."
Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood