One of the paintings that we enjoyed last week at the museum was accompanied by an elaborate draft of that work. That was even more amazing, to see how much work it actually took to create such a masterpiece. We of the non-artist world can take the skill for granted. We of the modern world, when skill is subsumed under “creativity” have it taken away from us, perhaps. So to see the level of preparation that a good artist needs, to come up with all the angles of perspective is a gentle prod to excel.
Not so in the real world, ironically.
I have encountered so many people who have made a lot of effort in making excuses. I noted this to a friend who is an architect, that she doesn’t have that luxury of being inexact. People’s lives depend upon such craftspeople and their skills. Unfortunately, here as well, we know that shortcuts are made with building and other construction projects.
This title was one that I came up with this morning. At this point, I don’t even remember what I was kvetching about to myself. In the mean time, all day I have been listening to and reading about the commemoration of the Challenger explosion. It is almost impossible to believe that it has already been 25 years, although I easily remember that my kiddies were little ones at the time, so little that I wanted to hide this horrific event from them. And at the time, you could do that. You turned off the TV, and there was no internet, no IM’ing, twitter, texting. Oh for heaven’s sake they were under 10. Even by the time we got to 9/11, we couldn’t shield our kids from the awful realities, but neither did we realize how much we needed to shelter them, cocoon them just a little longer.
But people’s shortsightedness and greed and laziness matter. And when we don’t have enough checks and balances, people die. I know that perhaps in a strange way, because Christa McAuliffe died, she became larger than life, inspirational to many more who wanted to make her life mean something. But to her children and her husband and her family, people’s shortsightedness made them forever at a loss. And it was the ultimate irony that her death was live.
McAuliffe and six others on board perished as the cameras rolled, victims of stiff O-ring seals and feeble bureaucratic decisions.
It was, as one grief and trauma expert recalls, “the beginning of the age when the whole world knew what happened as it happened.”
We went to pay a shiva call the other day to a couple who lost a baby. Here was technology at its best; doctors and nurses and all kinds of technical people working in unison to save this baby, but it wasn’t to be. Here was a loss of what could have been amazing; but what was left was amazing for its own sake. This baby was loved unconditionally, without any anger or raised voices or sighs of frustration. But only regret to know what could never be, what could only stay a dream. After visiting the family, I called daughter #1 and told her that my takeaway was that she should hug her children and her husband. But we didn’t have time to visit.
But we’ll have to try harder.