Up a Hill
The sculpture featured in this blog’s header is from an English artist named Mackenzie Thorpe. Some of you may remember this name from an earlier post where I featured another of his works, “Don’t Let Them Down.”
I continute to be captivated by Thorpe’s ability to say so much with so little. Of course, I’m no art critic. Just an everyday, working class kind of guy. Yet while I’m sure I may never grasp some of the deeper themes of his art, I can certainly identify with a few core concepts in this piece, concepts which in many ways shape the naure of this blog.
So give me a moment to put on my tweed blazer with leather patches and light up the ole’ meerschaum pipe. Ahh, that’s better. Now I can take myself much more seriously than I should.
Life is a lot like the road this poor guy in the scuplture is traveling. Notice that for as far as he has come, the road still seems to go on and on without end. Isn’t that just the way it seems sometimes? For every two steps forward, there seems to be three steps back. Yet, I continue to hear those near the end of their roads reflect on just how fast it all went by.
Like this road, life is full of ups and downs, “hills” if you will. Each hill seems so big, so important. We call it “the” hill, as if it is bigger than any other hill before or after it. We base our self-worth on this hill. We judge our progress on the entire road by our place on this hill. What’s interesting to me, however, is that Thorpe names this piece “Up A Hill.” Not “Up The Hill,” or even “Up Some Hills.” Instead, he uses the singular, non-descript, seemingly insignificant “a.” While it may seem like “the” hill at the moment, the reality is that this is just “a” hill. As a husband and a father, I have seen a few hills. And I will no doubt see more. You will no doubt read about a few of these hills on this blog.
The Weight On His Shoulders
This kind of speaks for itself. Great big house on the shoulders of this little bitty man. Literally, figuratively, it all makes sense. A house, a family, a job. We all carry our burdens. Heavy or light, we are often defined by the weight on our shoulders.
Strangely enough, life with all its hills and all its weights, is still a very cool thing. Christ said He came to give us life, and life more abundantly. Those who know the scriptures well will quickly point out that this abundant life doesn’t translate “trouble free” life. Instead, the idea here is that He can give us purpose and even joy in the midst of our hills and our burdens.
At the end of our road, we look back and realize that life is much less about the destination than the journey itself. Who we are and what we leave behind is largely defined by the decisions we make walking with our burndens “Up a Hill.”