Did Michelangelo paint the Sistine floor?

August 20, 2009
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No way ? he painted the ceiling. Today that feat would not pose much of a problem thanks to hydraulic devices that can be positioned at the touch of a control. The dimensions of the Sistine chapel are the same as the Temple of Solomon, as described in the Old Testament so the vaulted ceiling rises to 68 feet. The painting was done between 1508 and 1511 so you can but only imagine the crude scaffolding Michelangelo had to work with. Talk about three years of soul-rattling risk.

Think about the implications of taking your own risks. He risked and created one of the most important works of his life. He risked, giving the world a gift that endures to this day. He was not afraid and it paid off. Risk is considered proportional to the expected losses which can be caused by an event and to the probability of this event. The harsher the loss and the more likely the event, the greater the overall risk. What greater risk than the possibility of a fall from sixty feet to land on a marble floor. How much easier it would be to paint the floor.

Everyday of our lives we are called to risk something. If our personal relationships are to thrive we must risk and open ourselves to new understandings of love. The hi-tech world we live in reminds us that we are not the same people today that we were yesterday. In an instant a news flash can change the way we perceive the world. If we are to maintain healthy personal relationships we must be ready to risk the fall from the ceiling. Remaining safe is harder and harder in our world.

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Forming relationships means risking. We chance exposing ourselves to criticism and ridicule when declaring our feelings for another human being. It is not an easy thing to do and some people go through their entire lives alone because they cannot risk a rejection. I have friends who remain in a relatively unsatisfying ?platonic? relationship rather than taking the risk that could spell lifelong happiness for both.

How many people can?t take the risk of going into business? Instead they prefer to remain in their safe place while secretly knowing that they have ?what it takes? to succeed. We all know someone who wishes they had taken a business risk at some point in their lives? Personally, I find that each time I sit at my computer, I risk making an utter fool of myself as I write this blog. Do I let it worry me? Not on your life! As I post this, I don?t have a clue what I am going to write for tomorrow. But I know that it would be far worse for me to sit idly by knowing someone; somewhere might just find my ramblings interesting.

In your life you may easily face a ?Michelangelo Moment?. How will you react? Will you take the easier path and remain safe or will you take the unknown path? I leave you with a poem that served me well as I traveled my path from University to Accounting to the Funeral Profession. The poem made me consider the direction I was going. How many times in life we think, “Did I take the right path?”, “Did I make a right choice?” “Where is this road leading me?”

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there,

Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and

I took the one less traveled by,

and that has made all the difference!

— Robert Frost (1874?1963)

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