Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Grey-Grid Painting

A guest post over at Modern Mormon Men came across my Reader today.  The author, Sam Nelson, writes about his mother's hobby as an artist and some of the insights he gleans from the way she sees the world.

In this specific post, entitled "The Grey-Grid Painting," Sam describes a large canvas, divided into small squares arranged in a checkerboard.  Each of the squares is filled with differing shades of grey and black, with just a few of the hundreds filled with brilliant colors.

His mother interpreted the painting to represent the life of a mother, filled with cooking, cleaning, driving, and generally thankless work.  (I'd add the half-dozen or so "talent" shows my parents sat through as well).  These are all squares of grey: days that mothers merely muddle through. However, there are days of brilliant color when parents get to partake in their kids' accomplishments and success.  Like in real life, the numerous grey squares on the painting fade in the background when they have to compete for attention with the relatively few colored squares.

Sam agreed with his mother's interpretation, but also gave it a new spin when he served a mission.  Many of his days were filled with walking, thankless service, and a hundred doors knocked with no measurable success.  And then baptisms would happen, families would enter the temple, and lives would change.  Suddenly, those grey days become mere white noise competing in vain against a symphony of good experiences.

I think that being gay feels the same sometimes.  There are vacuous grey days, there are terrifying black days, and there are days that are full of color.  There are days when I'm blessed with good friends, days when I'm blessed with a fabulous car to drive around in, days when my mom listens with a sympathetic ear and saves the advice for another day, and so on.  There are even days when being gay is fun, especially when the hot guy in the ward pulls up to church on his motorcycle (As my straight brother once said, if you don't look once, you're not a man. If you look more than once, you're not a missionary).  And there are days when we, as wannabe-faithful LDS gays, stand together and support each other in the face of the conflict that rages within us.

Those days of color are what make life worthwhile.  Amid all the relationship drama, the regret that follows sin, and the loneliness and pain of the trial, there are brilliant days of blue, green, red, purple, ochre, peach, amber, teal, copper, gold, silver, robins-egg, slate, aubergine, sangria, fandango, iris, turquoise, seafoam, and jade.  Grey just can't compete.

1 comment:

  1. As a gay LDS member (all be it a non active one) I am more than inclined to say, I know just what you mean.
    I've grown to appreciate grey. It's a maligned colour on the colour wheel. (I fear my use of the U in the word colour gives away my British heritage). Yet I think we forget that it is a colour. Grey has just as much right to exist as all other colours. It deserves to be thought of as brilliant too. I find that there is something amazing about the ordinary and seemingly mundane.
    Sure, the other 'cool' colours may zip and spring off the canvas. They're flashy and bold. But something must be said for the grey that allows the showy colours to take centre stage.
    I've grown fond of grey and it's many many shades. And in embracing grey, I've think I've found a way to embrace my daily life. Chasing rainbows is fun and exhausting, and can sometimes lead to having no colour at all. Translucent, transparency can be worse than black.
    So if you find your life has grey in it. My advice: don't dye over it. Be proud of those earnt grey patches.


Be nice, mmmmkay? I allow anonymous comments, but not anonymous (or even attributed) douchebaggery. The Gay Mormon Pioneer's tolerance for hate and venom are incredibly low, but his love of communication and debate are high, so have an opinion, but be kind and gentle when you share it.

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