Approximately four years ago, in Vancouver, I was deep into my Clinical Pastoral Education Residency at Mount St. Joseph’s hospital. Anyone who’s done a unit or more of CPE would be well versed in just how all consuming it is. I was in class eight hours a day, Monday through Friday, doing at least five to six hours of homework every single day of the week, and every four weeks I was working eight hour shifts as a Spiritual Care Resident at the hospital on Saturdays and Sundays. For the most part I was enjoying all of it, but I was chronically exhausted. In fact, I wasn’t even making it to church regularly because I feeling I simply couldn’t fit more thing into my schedule. So, when my best friend’s sister Dianna, who came to Vancouver to participate in some teacher training classes, asked me if she could treat me to a visit to The Vancouver Art Museum, my response was an exhausted “Sure, I guess so.”
At this time the museum was displaying the artwork of Claude Monet, an artist who I was vaguely familiar with. After class that bright, Spring day I took the bus to the corner of West Georgia and Burrard street, and then made my way by foot to the museum, the whole time wishing I could just get home, start my homework, and then go to bed. Dianna greeted with me at the museum with an enthusiastic, “Hi Steffie, you’re gonna love this!” Her enthusiasm for what we were about to see did peak my interest. So, I put my best effort forward and we proceeded inside.
What I experienced that day, Monet’s artwork, took my breath away! Whilst gazing upon Monet’s masterpieces, Water Lillies and San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk, I noticed I had tears rolling down my face, and I didn’t know why! Dianna walked up to me, patted me gently on the back and said, “I know, I know, it’s stunning isn’t it?” I had never experienced before being so completely swept up in a piece of artwork that it brought me to tears, time had literally stood still and nothing else mattered. This was the presence of God, and I was feeling so at peace.
I am so grateful to Dianna for offering me this gift of a visit to The Vancouver Art Museum. It’s exactly what I needed to refresh my weary spirit through the presence of our loving God, in the beautiful artwork of Claude Monet.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.