I recently watched a documentary on the BBC entitled, “Van Gogh: Painted With Words” starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
As I sat mesmerized by the tormented life of one of the most influential artists of all time, I became increasingly uncomfortable. There was something about him that seemed to resonate with my own soul. Van Gogh's battle for sanity was a constant, uphill climb. Sadly, he never made it to the top. His efforts to gain emotional stability became more and more difficult, yet his artistic creations became more and more vibrant and beautiful.
Sadly, he took his own life at the age of 37.
Why did I feel so connected to such an afflicted soul.
I believe the answer is not just for me, but for all of us.
Is it possible that each one of us possesses a touch of “madness” to a certain and unique degree? I would say, “yes”. It’s part of being human in a fallen world. I would go so far as to say that these wounds can release emotional/creative expressions that connect us to our shared, albeit imperfect, humanity.
You can experience it through literature, music, and of course, the canvas. We are moved by brokenness, because it connects with our own.
I believe that out of madness, a certain beauty can emerge. Vincent Van Gogh is proof of that.
That being said, this madness is also self-destructive. Van Gogh is proof of that as well.
So what is one to do with their own inner frailties?
I have consciously made the choice to daily surrender my “madness” to my friend, Jesus. The Bible says that in our weakness, Jesus’ strength is made perfect in us. This means that when we are honest with Him about our emotional fractures, He can reveal His power in and through us. He can and will redeem our madness for something so great that it extends beyond anything we can imagine.
The art (and life) of Vincent Van Gogh compels me to be honest about my doubts, fears, and insecurities. Not so that I can host a pity-party for myself, but for the grace and goodness of Jesus to be on full display for you to see.