The artist opened her paint box, dampened her brush and started. Before her was a beautiful Tudor half timbered house complete with moat and gatehouse. She worked quickly on that hot summer’s day. The picture developed and showed no sign of the many visitors who trooped passed her on they way to tour the building. She disliked their intrusion with garish tops and shorts into this piece of history. Suddenly she sighted an old man in straw hat and linen jacket stop and gaze at the house. He was perfect for inclusion just at the bridge over the moat.
Soon the painting was finished as the shadows swiftly changed towards afternoon. So she collected her gear and stood up. There beside her was the gentleman she had portrayed. They talked and she asked if he knew the house well. ‘Yes’ he replied ‘many years ago I lived here’.
‘My uncle once owned it and I stayed here as a boy each summer’. ‘Do you miss it?’ asked the artist. ‘Of course but you can’t turn the clocks back. Now it is the property of the tourists who pay to keep it up’ . He went on ‘ now why don’t you paint it again but include the visitors this time – that will picture the future?’ A few minutes late he left with the first picture and the painter started again remembering that time runs in only one direction.
Let us pray
Lord help us to value the present
Treasure the past
And use them
To found hope in the future.