The Artist’s Eye

When loss is personal…

Two stories, separated by 1,400 years.

One, perhaps the most famous story in human history. You know it well.

A baby boy, born to a young couple, on the road, so poor they couldn’t afford a hotel room. This, their first child, born in a barn, surrounded by livestock and filth.

His father was a carpenter and as was the custom at that time he learned the craft as well.

But that was not his life’s calling.

Eventually, he left his home, left his mother and father, and began to preach. He was charismatic, enigmatic, at once both patient and kind, yet also a bit distant and preoccupied.

His following grew. He began to be seen as a threat to the status quo. There was talk of a revolution, a new kingdom which he would govern.

So, he was falsely accused, tried and convicted, brutally beaten and then executed. His mother watched him die. He was only 33 years old.

Some 1,400 years later the second story begins.

A baby boy, born to a mother so frail she could not nurse him, was sent to live with a wet nurse in a family of stone cutters. His mother died when he was only 6 and still living with this foster family so he never really knew her.

His childhood was grim, and when he said he wanted to be an artist, his father flew into a rage. He never knew warmth, acceptance, or love.

He spent all of his adult life alone.

The two stories intersect when the young, motherless artist was not yet 25.

He was commissioned to depict the death of Jesus Christ.

Please, explain to me how a man who never knew the comfort of being held in his own mother’s embrace, never knew his own mother’s tender love, could create this


His eye was sensitized to loss. His understanding of death was personal.

And so when Michelangelo thought about the crucifixion of Christ, he didn’t see the cross, as most who knew of the story before him did.

He saw Mary, in her grief. He saw a mother tenderly holding her son one final time. He saw love.

The best artists see what we do not. They help us feel emotion that we have locked up and hidden.

Do you have this gift?

Do you have the power to heal hurting hearts?

Isn’t this really your calling, the reason you wanted to be on this big radio stage?

Don’t you know deep down that you can do more, say more, be more than a pleasant voice muttering platitudes no one hears?

Can you help us notice what we don’t see even when we’re looking at the same image?

Can you help us focus on the comfort and love underneath the cross?

Do you have the artist’s eye?