I keep thinking that Lenny was really unhappy with his painting, but he didn’t have enough time to fix it. He kept making little adjustments until he died, and then the world fell in love with the very screw-up that he regretted. At least that’s how I would tell the story.
It was the smile, or the smirk, or the half grin that made the picture so appealing, but what did it mean? Had Lenny witnessed her pleasure when she recalled her affair with Cesare or was it the moment when she had just passed gas and grimaced, hoping he hadn’t noticed?
Whatever it was, it was done. Or, more accurately, he was done and his favorite painting would never be completed. Da Vinci is said to have fiddled with the Mona Lisa until his final days, never quite achieving whatever perfection he was seeking. Like the rest of us, he died with a to-do list.
Now I’m wondering about other great works of art, along with the lesser lights, in all the museums I’ve visited. How many of their creators regretted a stroke or daub, wished they could add another frog to the pond or a tire swing in the tree? Is there any artist anywhere, or any person for that matter, who doesn’t have second thoughts about their stories, a yearning for something just a bit different, a need for just one more opportunity to get it right?
In fact, we all have a million unfinished projects in our lives. Most of the time, we just let them go and move on. Too often, though, we dwell incessantly on the Three Horsemen of Regret: Woulda, Coulda and Shoulda. It’s not over until we say it’s over and, for some self-destructive reason, we find it impossible to close the door.
Somewhere along the line, we probably make a choice about the issues we’ll drop and the ones we’ll hold dear. From a million slings and arrows, we pick a handful to fill our quivers and toss the rest to the side, never to be addressed again. I can’t imagine there’s that much difference among all these hurts, all these unfinished conversations, but somehow we select the ones that will haunt us and we never, ever let go.
Why am I still mad at Max for ditching me at the party, but I didn’t care when Ed did the same thing? Why can’t I forgive Sandy for blabbing about my arrest, but I didn’t have any problem when Danny spilled the beans? Very complex, and confusing, isn’t it?
Looking back at Da Vinci, we’re clearly in good company. Still, there comes a time to turn the page and write a new chapter, to declare the competition over and a new game begun. Today is a good day to say goodbye to some unfinished business, simply by deciding it’s done.
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Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.