On Seeing the Light

Starry Night

Starry Night

I have taught art history for years and admire the post-impressionist, Vincent van Gogh. I especially love Starry Night. I have seen Starry Night while it was on loan at the Art Institute in Chicago years ago. Van Gogh painted the town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence from his hospital room in June of 1889. He struggled much of his life with a long list of medical and emotional problems. One of his major problems was his eyesight. Nonetheless, van Gogh paints a nighttime scene of the village while wrestling with his seeing issues.

While I never was in a sanatorium like van Gogh, I had a recent appointment with my cardiologist, Dr. Marchand. It was a routine checkup for high blood pressure. All was well with my heart. However, I asked him why I was so wound-up having just returned from Myanmar/Burma. He replied that it was due to my endorphins. I pressed him further about why my endorphins were up.

Dr. Marchand understood that I wanted to know. I am different than I was prior to going to Myanmar. He paused, looked directly into my eyes, and said, "You have seen the light." While our eyes remained locked with each other, he paused, and said nothing more. Once he knew that I had gotten his message, he told me that he would see me in six months. I will never forget that office visit with Dr. Marchand.

Like van Gogh, I was living but not seeing everything. Vincent van Gogh painted Starry Night, and I saw the light.


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