|Precarious, 7 x 5", mixed media|
My subject is David, before he became a king. He is at this time in the story a mere shepherd. I've written about this before in a blog from August 4, 2012 Taking On Goliath. My insight back in 2012 had to do with artists using the tools they have at hand, and know how to use, rather than piling on techniques and information that will simply make it hard to move. In this writing, I am thinking about our country and our world. Our current situation makes me think of David, the shepherd, who volunteers to take on Goliath, the giant. King Saul believes that David will benefit from his armor and weapons which he bestows on the young man. Everything is bulky and out scale for the shepherd. The metal stifles movement and David knows that he can not take out Goliath with this hindrance. Instead, he removes the armor and heads to the stream to select five smooth stones. Placing the stones in his pouch with his slingshot David heads off to face Goliath, who is insulted by the diminutive presence. David selects his stone, lets it fly, and it becomes lodged in Goliath's skull. The giant drops dead.
|Five Smooth Stones, 7 x 5", mixed media|
1) Openness: Our country was basically created from scratch. We are flexible in our ideas and the founders thought in creative and fresh ways. Ideas can come from anywhere to be of value.
2) Opportunity: When life in the Old Country presented few options, America was seen as a place of opportunity, where one could create their own life, free from restrictions of inheritance and state religion, for example.
3) Inventiveness: Here, there was a new landscape and new vegetation. Necessity was the mother of invention. This became a 'tradition' of our country. We have always supported new ideas and machines. I believe this is also why we have been the leader in higher education. Research and creativity have been valued.
4) Generosity: Perhaps I am wrong, but I believe that the work of volunteers in America is greater than any other country in the world. The work of volunteers is structured into the government of other countries. In the U.S., PTAs and church/synagogue/mosque groups make a huge difference in our lives. I could just say, 'Band Parent' and get my point across. Volunteers are factored into healthcare, too. Our economy is different from any other in the world because of the work of volunteers. Personally, I think that this is why neither capitalism or socialism are really the correct fit for our country--but that is another subject. We are generous with our money and labor in coming to the aid of the rest of the world. That, in turn, brings us a lot of power.
5) Frontier/Nature: Because America was created out of the 'new world' we have always had to think carefully about nature. This has given Americans a special relationship with the landscape. It is not a perfect relationship, but it is important. The establishment of our National Park system is considered our 'best idea'.
To me, these are America's five smooth stones. They are why we are upheld as a positive force in the world. Your version would probably be different. I came up with these ideas fairly quickly. I'm sure there are gaps. But, my main point here is that we have a strong military to protect these endeavors of accomplishment, not the other way around.
This story of David and how he, a slight, young shepherd was able to overpower the giant is a lesson for all of us. Saul asked David how he, a 'boy' could go against 'this Philistine'. David answers: "Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it. " (1 Samuel 17:35) This lesson can apply to us all. We can lose the second hand, over-sized armor and instead use our handiest tools, our five smooth stones, to create what we want in the world.