Wednesday, April 20, 2011

what has moved you?

I absolutely adore Hampton dinner parties. There is something to be said for an intimate dinner party in a home.  I love dressing up, going to someone's home, and enjoying great wine, hors d'oeuvres, cozy ambiance, lively conversation, and a seated dinner.  And no one does it better than a Hamptons host.

One such dinner party we attended was most interesting.  We were invited to dinner by one of my favorite people.  She, an heiress from Europe, is quite literally the most elegant woman I've ever met.  She's lived and traveled all over the world.  Her husband has been described as "American royalty."  Occasionally, he'll share great stories about dinner parties from his childhood, recalling interesting conversations with Truman Capote - among other elites.  I'm always amazed and honored to receive an invitation from these two because I feel as if I "bring nothing to the table."  In comparison, my life has been sheltered and narrow, while their contemporaries are artists and intellectuals. 

On that particular evening, as we chatted over dinner, this gentleman told me about a dinner party they had attended earlier that week in the city.  He said that everyone at the table was asked, "What work of art has moved you in the past 30 days?"  He said that there was even someone taking notes on the answers given.  

As we discussed the responses, he directed the question to me.  "What work of art has moved You in the past 30 days?"  At the time, I was teaching first grade and constantly ferrying my two children around Long Island to various activities, so I wasn't exactly spending my days perusing art galleries.  However, I am an avid reader and therefore, consider books works of art. (If you ever borrow a book from me, you will find multiple marked pages where I have been moved by insightful comments, beautiful prose, or prolific statements on the human condition.)  I consider myself decently educated and somewhat articulate.  I  However, my brain was fuzzy from wine served with dinner... and I had nothing.  No answer at all.   Zip.  Zilch.  Zero.  Nada.  Nothin'.  I coudn't even remember the title of the book I was reading - just in case it had moved me.  I could not recall one thing that moved me in the preceding 30 days.

Since that occasion (where I came across as a complete moron), I've often questioned, 'What moves me?'

In addition to the obvious -  my family, suffering in the world, and God's infinite grace,  here are some things that have moved my soul:

The Red Rocks of Sedona

The Chapel of the Holy Cross

The Grand Canyon

Giant Redwoods

The City of Florence

The chains that held St. Peter

Notre Dame on a Snowy Evening

The Louvre

Venus de Milo

Van Gogh's Shoes

Surprisingly, I have searched and searched and the work of art that moved me most, I never photographed.  It was the sculpture of David by Michelangelo.  The feeling I had upon seeing it is indescribable.

What has moved you?

1 comment:

  1. You had me in suspense.....I thought you were going to tell him all about the drawings your first graders did that week! They are true, unadulterated works of art. (But, I love the photos too...)