Who isn’t fascinated by the life of Vincent Van Gogh? Many of us have been moved by the beauty of his art. I saw the animated movie about his death called “Loving Vincent.” It was created with 100 artists working to make his paintings come alive. The post master asked his son to find and give the last letter Vincent wrote to his family or someone closest to him. So, he set out to do just that.
Letters have always fascinated me. I began writing my pastor when I was about 14 years old. Now remember this was long before email. It took a few days to receive snail mail. I wrote about his sermons. He said that scared him at first because he realized someone was listening. After 25 years of preaching myself, now I know what he meant. I am touched when someone is listening, really listening. The Apostle Paul wrote many letters we still have today because someone meticulously preserved them.
I appreciate how the film used the letter as a catalyst to tell the story of Vincent’s life. Some said he was too sensitive for this world. That may have been. Perhaps through his pain he was able to help us to see and to feel. Henri Nouwen taught and studied Van Gogh’s work which touched him deeply. Cliff Edwards wrote a book about Vincent called: “Van Gogh and God”. The spirituality of his paintings and his life has touched many a soul, not only Edwards, Nouwen’s and mine. The film left me feeling hopeful even though he died much too young. His work and his legacy lives on. I went to a very small art theater to view the movie and I told the woman at the counter, “That was so, so good!” As I was leaving, she smiled and said, “I know, isn’t it great!?” I feel a connection to the God who created the flowers and the fields and the people Van Gogh painted. I also left the movie feeling a connection to him. His life left a mark. Maybe God can work through our pain and perhaps the blank canvas of our lives will continue to form beauty.