~ Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was one of the greatest painters of all time. He was revered and respected among the Art World. Many reflect on his ability to remain humble and happy inspite of great adversity.
What very few realize that in the last three decades of Renoir’s life, he was plagued with the debilitating disease of Rheumatoid Arthritis. His body became crippled and deformed, making simple daily tasks near impossible.
But the really cool part is that Renoir kept painting. He would have an assistant wedge the brush between his crippled fingers and wrap his hand to keep the brush there and prevent irritation.
This painting I found on Wikipedia was painted by Renoir, of himself, in 1910. Well into the advanced stages of arthritis. He painted it while he was in severe pain. He pushed himself saying, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”
So, do you think, at any given time, anyone would have respected Renoir less if he had said, “the price is too high, I am not going to paint anymore?”
If Renoir’s daily tasks were less creative, more mundane, would he have had just as much passion for it? Would he have kept going through the pain? And would anyone have blamed him?
People defy the odds all the time. Those who are never supposed to walk – run. Those who are supposed to succumb to cancer – rebel and live. Those who are told they should sit in the back of the bus – start a national movement. Those who are told they will never amount to anything – change the world by developing new scientific and mathematical theories. Those who are told they lack talent – create the most iconic amusement park and characters of all time.
But, if any of these people had said, “Oh, okay. You are right. I should accept my limitations and move on.” Would the world have cared?
At what point do we “give ourselves a break” and at what point do we say, “Suck it up and keep going.” When is it accepting limitations and when is it just making excuses?
Let’s say there are two victims of childhood abuse. One victim says, “I am the way I am because of what happened. I will always be like this. I will always need that.” The other says, “Well, life is rough. Too bad. Now I am going on with my life, changing things I don’t like.”
Which one is right?
If you accept limitations are you only making excuses for what you don’t really want to do in the first place? Are you giving up, selling out?
If you ignore your limitations, seek to change things beyond your control, are you being realistic?
What if you heart echoes the words of Renoir but your body and your psyche refuse to comply? How do you resolve the ever present conflict in your soul?
Just some food for thought. I am interested in what you all have to say.