Sunday, March 28, 2010

Only a Boy Named David

"And one little stone went in the sling
And the sling went round and round
And one little stone went in the sling
And the sling went round and round
And round and round
And round and round
And round and round and round
And one little prayer went up to God
And the giant came tumbling down."

David is my Mom’s favourite biblical character. She still nurses a marble replica of Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti’s “David” that my dad gave her when we lived in Montreal in the early 70’s. I have to make a confession though...growing up with three brothers, especially my younger two, we roughhoused a lot. I, in my competitive attempt to playfully beat up my brothers I had a habit of breaking my mother’s figurines during our sibling debacles. Sly as I was at the time, I’d set the fractured figurine head or violin back on the ornament and wait until the next knock on the furniture by one of my innocent brothers ...bang...a brother was always nailed for the trauma. My father used his precise skill of crazy gluing them back together. I never confessed my sins to my mom or dad until after I got married, furthermore my brothers have never forgiven me; especially FISH. David was the only figurine I never broke. He’s still intact at home today.

In the fall of 2009 I visited the Academia in Florence. Seeing Michelangelo’s David was one of the highlights of my life. I can recount each rounded step until I laid my eyes upon him. David defines perfection. As I stood there I pondered about what David represented to my mother in particular.

If you refer to 1 Samuel 17 and old Sunday school lessons, you’ll recall the Philistine army had gathered for war against Israel. For forty days they mocked and challenged the Israelites to fight. They had a giant named was Goliath. Saul, the King of Israel, and the whole army were terrified of Goliath. David volunteered to fight Goliath. Dressed in his simple tunic, carrying his shepherd's staff, slingshot and a pouch full of stones, David approached Goliath and said "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied ... today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air ... and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel ... it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands." As Goliath moved in for the kill, David reached into his bag and slung one of his stones at Goliath's head. Finding a hole in the armour, the stone sank into the giant's forehead and he fell face down on the ground. David then took Goliath's sword, killed him and then cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran.

So what does David represent? Courage, he never wavered or cowered in fear, but ran to the battle. He knew what action needed to be taken, in spite of discouraging insults and fearful threats. Only God's opinion mattered to David. Faith, made David look at the giant from a different perspective. Goliath was merely a HUGE mortal man defying an all-powerful God. David looked at the battle from God's point of view. Skill, he was himself and he used his simple slingshot, a weapon he was skilled at using and God worked a miracle through him.

So why am I surprised that every time my mother or our family faced a giant that she walked forward gallantly with courage, skill and faith? Why am I surprised what David meant to her life? This in turn affected all our lives. She is David.

Last week I returned to Florence. I took my daughter to the Academia to see David. Not because the biblical David represents anything to her, but because, as an art major she is obsessed with Michelangelo. She sat on the floor beneath David for over 40 minutes in awe of Michelangelo’s skill and perfection as a sculptor. As I observed her awe and wonder, I regretted for the first time keeping her away from religion and wished instead she could have experienced David’s courage and faith. I also wished my Mom could have seen the real David herself. Even if I took her today, her eyes would fail to see his divine perfection, even though he lives in and through her. She is grace.

Take your skill in faith and use it courageously... and I’ll try not to break anymore of her figurines.


Kimberley Trafford said...

How beautiful!!! What a wonderful tribute to the sculpture but more importantly to the woman who walked out all that David represented to the world. Your mom's eyes may fail her physically but she still has the same keen insight and ability to see what has always mattered better than those with 20/20 vision.

I would love to have been with you to view this momentus figure. I know how deeply it touched you. I would also loved to have seen Hil transfixed by David and the magnificence of the art but wonder at the depth the awe might have been and could still be if she truly investigates David and the God he stood for.

You are such a character to admit your childhood treachery to the world; Fish will at least be glad you owned it publicly even if he never forgives you!!! LOL

Obviously, part of your dad's precision with repairs came from the amount of practice you afforded him! LMAO


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