One of our days in London took us to St. Paul's Cathedral. I could try to describe its beauty, its splendor, its majesty to you, but it would only paint a rough picture of what is it really like. It's a place that needs to be felt first and then seen and I've not the words or skill to describe it. A lot of its wonder blended into a sense of awe with a few specifics rising out of that feeling.
To the left of the Dome, there are two corridors that lead to the North Transept. Going down the further one, leads you to a stunning painting, The Light of the World, by William Holman Hunt. There are chairs for you to sit and contemplate the painting, and find your own meaning. Selfishly, as I had been in the musical Godspell only months before, the song of the same name as the painting immediately popped in my head. However, the memory was pleasant and when I connected it with the painting, it gave the production I'd been in more meaning. Not a bad thing.
I then moved on and walked to the first corridor and after I turned the corner I came face to face with a
It is an exquisite piece of artwork and to know that it was created by men who had faced horrors that most of us will never know gives it a deep, almost holy beauty. While living with great pain, coming to terms with their forever emotion and physical afflictions, mourning the loss of fellow soldiers, and missing their home and families, they added colour and magic to the world. Their time in the trenches and the front lines, all the suffering they witnessed and lived through did not take away the ability it rise above it all and make art from war.
It gave me pause; it brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. I've been very lucky in my life but I've had sufferings, and yes, they have been on smaller scale, but they are my sufferings. While going through a rough patch this past summer, and wondering if I'd done the right thing by speaking my mind, my husband, frustrated but supportive said, that when you stand up for yourself, you have to be prepared to deal with the consequences. He said London stood up to Hitler and paid a heavy price for doing so, but it had to be done. He was in no way comparing my issues to the Blitz, but the parallel of not backing down was clear.
Our lives are precious and fleeting and we can waste so much time wishing they were something else and not appreciating what we have. However, days like Remembrance Day should remind us that a lot of what we have is because of the men and women who have served our country. And like these brave souls, and in particular like London and the alter cloth, we can all find a way to rise above our pain, our sufferings, and give the world something beautiful.