I’m scared

I’m not a big fan of visual art, but I am a fan of a great story.  During one of the more difficult moments of my life, when I lost my girlfriend and was about to face a criminal trial, I found myself curled up in bed thinking to myself, “I am scared.”  After two days in this state, a good friend forced me out of my apartment, and took me to an exhibit that focused on Michelangelo.  There I learned about why Michelangelo’s “David” is a great piece of art.

Traditionally, David was portrayed after his victory, standing triumphant over Goliath.  Almost all of the “great” depictions of David and Goliath show David standing over Goliath’s severed head.  But Michelangelo chose to show David before the battle. Davis is tense, but not just in a physical way but in a mental sense.  With just a slingshot over his shoulder, David approaches that defining moment in his life – and he is scared!

The sculpture tells a story about courage. It reminds us that accomplishment and overcoming difficulties, is never a forgone conclusion or a certainty but a result of overcoming our fears.  Courage is not the absence of fear.  Courage is not living without doubt.  Courage is more like religious faith, to paraphrase scriptures, “courage is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Faith that things will get better, it is knowing that with just a slingshot over your shoulder you just might slay a giant today.

With the help of Michelangelo, I now know that many of life’s decisions come down to one simple question: Do you wish to live your life based on your fears and your nightmares, or based on your hopes and dreams.  It’s a choice we make every day!

A month later I went on trial and after two weeks of testimony, a jury of my peers deliberated for less than one hour and cleared me of all charges.   I was scared but I soldiered on and in the process became a lover of visual art.

Shom is a writer who grew up in NYC and now lives in Washington DC, he dabbles writing TV programs and feature length movies.  He has a background working in domestic politics and international affairs.  Shom’s vices include being a Mets fan, playing golf, traveling over seas, chasing his dreams and meeting amazing women. But above all, yell, cry, scream, laugh, jump or run — I don’t care what you do, but don’t live life lukewarmly.

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