‘David’ a symbol of human capacity for change

“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”—Michelangelo

By Susan Beilby Magee

Susan Beilby Magee

Susan Beilby Magee

Head of David by Michelangelo

Head of David by Michelangelo

WASHINGTON, D.C. — What does the David mean to an American woman of English and Spanish descent—500 years after it was created? I first saw theDavid in Florence, Italy in 1989. Twenty-five years later, I returned with my granddaughter so we could see the David together. It had a far greater impact on me. It is a metaphor for my journey in life.

For the past several years, I have had a vision of Michelangelo looking at a huge block of marble, seeing David inside. All he had to do was chip the extraneous marble away to reveal him. Isn’t that what we do in life? We chip away at our anger, sorrow, grief; we expose our imperfections and uncover fears. In short, we do what Michelangelo did. We chip away and in the process reveal our own radiant selves.

I learned two new things about the David on this trip.

1) Knowing that the block of marble he was given contained imperfections and cracks, Michelangelo chose to to use it anyway. Aren’t we all imperfect? Don’t we all have cracks inside? Isn’t it through our imperfections that we reveal our humanity and become vulnerable? Doesn’t that vulnerability allow us to chip more away which reveals our true selves?

2) Michelangelo sculpted the pupils of David’s eyes in the shape of a heart. Perhaps Michelangelo is suggesting that David sees with his heart, and it is through his heart that he is able to face this giant of a man called Goliath. I, too, have learned that truth and courage lie within my heart. While I love using my cognitive mind and always will, I access true power, vision and wisdom through my heart.

Bless the genius of Michelangelo for his creation of the David. It will forever be a symbol of life’s journey of transformation.

Magee is the author of Into the Light: The Healing Art of Kalman Aron.  This article is reprinted with permission from her blog.

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