I quit saying that I hate individual people so long ago that I don’t remember when this became the norm for me. My decision to do so probably had to do with something that I was taught way back in little kid Sunday School–it’s awfully hard to love thy neighbors as thyself and declare hatred for them at the same time. As a result, I can say that I really don’t hate anybody. Not even the bully who used his finger to put a hole through my ham sandwich in the 7th grade. It was upsetting at the time, but I don’t hate him for it. If you are him and are reading this, I forgive you. And if you are him and are able to read this, then you are way smarter than you look.
Sorry about that. That has been building for over 20 years. I feel better now.
Even though I don’t hate individual people, I think it is okay to express hatred for inanimate objects. Like paintings, for instance. More specifically, the painting that is on display in my office. It is attached to the wall with such permanence that nothing short of divine intervention will ever be able to move it.
And it is hideous.
Hideous may be too strong of a word. Or not. The beauty of a picture, or lack thereof, is completely dependent upon the personal taste of the person viewing the picture. According to my personal taste it is terrible. I can, however, imagine a woman of both advance years and girth who wears a muumuu on a daily basis with a yorkshire terrier named Precious or Sweet-Pea thinking it is quite lovely. But I still hate it.
The forefront of the picture features nondescript flowers of odd and sundry colors leading to the sand of what appears to be some sort of bay. In the blue sky with a smattering of cumulus clouds, there are 10 white birds of various sizes flying about. There are sailboats in the distance near another piece of land along with a few buildings and trees.
You might think that the description of the painting doesn’t sound too terrible so the painting itself must not be as bad as I think it is. If so, you are wrong. Mere words can not accurately portray the ugliness that I am forced to look at every work day. Here are a few reasons why.
The painting matches absolutely nothing in my office. My walls are part olive-green and part beige. My desk has a dark, fake wood top. Everything in my office is muted in coloration. Except for the gaudy painting that hangs inside of it.
It appears that the painter was trying to make those who view the painting believe that they have astigmatism. Everything is blurry and ambiguous. The flowers are blurry. The birds are blurry. The sailboats are blurry. Even the clouds are more blurry than normal clouds. It’s like the painter was working with a local eye doctor for kick-backs. “You think my picture is blurry? You may need to set an appointment with my good friend and optometrist , Dr. I. C. Unclearly.”
Every other picture in the whole office is at least twice as nice as mine. Especially the one in the office next to mine. It is a soothing, pastoral setting that reminds me of the Great Smoky Mountains. Mine could be used by interrogators to break stubborn subjects.
The last reason mentioned is the one the bothers me the most.
It bothers me because it reveals something in me that I don’t like. Jealousy. Wanting what someone else has. Being discontent.
This isn’t usually a problem for me. I believe that being discontent is similar to telling God that He is wrong concerning what He has provided–that He could have done a better job. Being jealous is declaring that I didn’t get what I deserve even though what I and everyone else really deserves is to be cast into Hell and to be apart from God forever.
I began writing this as a rant not knowing where it might take me. It appears to have taken me to a blind spot.
I know. It’s just a painting. But this is about more than a painting. It is about contentment. It is about being thankful for what God has given me and not always clamoring for more.
I realize now that I’ve not been doing this very well as of late.
The painting that I hate has taught me a valuable lesson.
Maybe it’s not so bad after all.
Have you been struggling with discontentment? Learned any lessons from life that apply? Be different–leave a comment.