I remember standing in the hall where the art hung. I remember being awestruck at the announcement of the winner. Many did not understand. I was among them.
The contest had begun weeks before. We were to create a piece of art to bring to life paradise, to create a work of art that perfectly depicted where one could go to find solace or a perfect place of peace.
That day I went there to see all the entries. So many sunny and beautiful pieces of art hung on the walls. I had a few favorites, among them was one of rolling green grassy hills, with black-and-white cows speckled across it, grazing peacefully in the sunlight. The colors were so bright and beautiful. I felt it would be such a tranquil place.
Another was a beautiful and spectacular sunrise glowing on purple hills. It captured a beautiful moment the stilled my soul as I looked at it for many moments before moving on to the next piece of art.
The winner had stuck out to me in a way, yet not the way I thought would make it a winner. I was shocked to hear that it had one. Because when I had looked at it, I had thought it looked completely opposite of what I would have regarded as paradisaical. Its dark sky proved menacing with its rolling grayish clouds and smears of wind. I hadn't spent much time speculating on why the artist had entered the piece. It obviously had been a mistake.
But it had won!
The announcer went on, "Unlike the other entries, this piece truly holds a wondrous paradise." I couldn't believe my ears.
Then I saw it.
Back within the trees, hidden from the angry storm, was a cabin. It's warm light emanated from within. It was subtle, but true. What the perfect tranquility one could find in the depths of the angry world around them: a shelter from the storm, a paradise within the realities of the world.
I left with a new perspective that day. New ideas were sprouting within me from that painting: the one that depicted a true paradise.