Sometimes words never seem enough to describe a situation or a concept. We try and come as close to it as we can but only a facet of what we really experience is revealed.
I find grace one such concept:
“to bring honour or credit to (something or someone) by one’s attendance and participation”
… doesn’t even come close to the depth or complexity of the actual experience.
I came across the above shot of the butterfly resting on the sculptured hand in The Guardian picture gallery themed under grace (click here for gallery). Shot by Ansel Oomen, it’s titled Eclosion which is the act of emerging from a pupal case. The butterfly had just emerged from its chrysalis and is busy drying it’s wings.
This is a completely incongruous shot. The butterfly is tiny compared to the imposing, lined plaster hand. It hints at the fragility and vulnerability of the butterfly against the hard hand. The just emerged butterfly is ALIVE as the hand it rests on, is inanimate. One is needy as the other is imposing, self-sufficient.
At this moment, neither knows what the future will hold. We hope the butterfly will spread it’s wings and take off but who knows? As for the hand, maybe it’s a standalone, star piece in an upcoming exhibition. Or about to be joined to the rest of it’s body? Or perhaps, its long since been forgotten and discarded by the artiste who has now moved on to a new, more interesting project.
But in this moment, the past or future ceases to matter. Their meeting has rendered all references insignificant. There is just a butterfly clinging on to the finger of this hand for its survival. And there is the finger on the hand is more than a sculpture, it is another’s support.
A chance encounter. In this simplicity, everything is as it is. Nothing else is needed. Everything is redeemed. Everything is changed.
It brings to mind one of my favourite quotes about grace from Anne Lamott:
“I do not understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us”