At first Melanie thought she was dreaming. Then, well, she thought she was seeing a vision. All of her senses were taken up studying the portrait, or painting, or CGI, or Sculpture, or dream, or whatever it was she was looking at. Because it could have been any of those, or none, or all. Whatever it was she was looking at, had taste, texture, tapestry. It oozed lovely sweet feelings, leaked moments of sorrow, had deep dark slashes of pain that stood out against the much wider and richer folds of joy, laughter, and hope.
There were muted memories floating on muddy slow moving rivers of time. There were crystal clear moments tumbling over waterfalls of new, novel, or nice experiences. There were quiet ponds, deep pools of gathered thoughts. Next to bubbling brooks, on soft mats of moss, sat private moments colored by love, safety and trust. Looking at just one tiny part of what she saw- things appeared to her: bruised knees, a scab, and the gangly awkward gate of a girl turning into a not quite yet woman, skipping over chalk covered squares with indeterminate numbers on them, and little pieces of stone felt light and sharp as she picked them up.
She felt her summer dress bobbing on her body as she gleefully hopped from one foot to two, and back for several more one legged hops. Numbers popped from her mouth like little chocolate covered cherries in the summer sun: “Two, three, four!” As her head turned to look back at the scraggly stack of one dimensional squares and rectangles. With little purple stars, chalk rainbows, and house like roofs complete with chimneys, curled smoke, and trees with apples resting on hills around the hop scotch pattern on the uneven side walk- she looked back at her childhood art work only to see her older self holding the hand of one of her children, as they both stop to throw a stone, and giggle as they hopped.
Another part of whatever it was she was looking at, reached out to fill her with the warmth, tenderness, and slippery sweet taste of crushes, romances, and first kisses. One scene brought a fireplace, a lap, a strong hand curling her long hair, and an afghan knitted by her Mom lay on her body like a kitten- even the purr was present. She couldn’t see distinct faces, only the feelings of contentment, safety, and trust, that dark rooms, christmas lights, and log fires, bring to someone who is laying on a lap of someone they love, or loved.
It was all to much for Melanie.
She stepped back to see more, and less.
It was then that she couldn’t help herself. Seeing all of the vision, picture, scenario, whatever it was, in all of its tangled scope of beauty and ugliness, its hope and dreams, some reached, some shattered, the feelings of pure joy, bereft of cause, but full of experience, it tore the words from her:
“My God. That is beautiful. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”
“Yes. Yes it is. “ Said a voice as pretty as it sounded.
“What is it?” Asked Melanie without turning to see who was speaking.
“It is your life.”
Melanie gasped. “But…but…it is beautiful!”
“Yes. It was.”
“So that is what judgement is. You see your life as a whole. All the threads of decisions, impulses, outcomes, and accidents, piled through time into one single event- your life as a whole thing. Wow.”
The Voice smiled.
“ Melanie, every life, if it could be seen as a whole - is this pretty, special, and deep. Moments in motion that stop and collect themselves into vistas of unimaginable directions. That girl making chalk drawings never knew she would go where she did, become things that mattered to her, and others, like: Mom, sister, daughter, lover, and boss. It is a Masterpiece of creation, and all of it created by you. It is your life. All of it. “
Melanie took the hand of the Pretty Voice.
“My God. What a beautiful life. It is much more beautiful than I thought it would be. Especially seen like this, in its entirety, without looking at it with judgment, malice, regret or sorrow. Just looking at it, and knowing it was lived, loved, and filled with having done the best I could at the time. It is much more beautiful than I ever imagined.”
“Most of them are. “ The Pretty Voice smiled back.