I always remember a story I read long time ago about Renoir, the great French painter. Renoir suffered terribly for long years because of arthritis. His hands were crooked and deformed. The joints of his fingers were swollen, enormous. In the end he reached such a state that he could hardly keep the brush between his thumb and forefinger, propped between them, as he had no more power in his fingers. However, he continued to work. His state was so severe that he had to be carried on arms to his easel. An aid had to move his canvas, as he could not paint anymore than the surface which was near his hand. But he never complained. He remained gay and serene. And he went on painting.
One day Matisse came to visit him and found him working as usual. At a certain moment, Renoir had a grimace of pain and dropped his brush. Matisse cried out of a deep compassion:
`Why do you torture yourself like this, maestro? You did so much…You can be content from now on!`
Renoir looked at him and smiled
`Pain goes away, Matisse`, he said, `but beauty remains.`
When we are called to suffering, let us remember that pain lasts only for some time, but its eternal fruitage is eternal. One day we will look back and will se that the time of our suffering meant just a short period of preparation for the eternal life. We will thank God for every sadness, for every tear, for every disappointment.
`Pain goes away, but beauty remains.`
Excerpt from Spiritual vitamins, vol II – Anthony M. Coniaris, Sophia Publishing.