An artist was commissioned by a wealthy man to paint a portrait of peace.
After a great deal of thought, the artist painted a beautiful country scene. There were green fields with cows standing in them, birds were flying in the blue sky and a lovely little village lay in a distant valley.
The artist gave the picture to the man, but there was a look of disappointment on his face. The man said to the artist, “This isn’t a portrait of true peace. Something isn’t quite right. Go back and try again.”
The artist went back to his studio, thought for several hours about peace, then went to his canvas and began to paint. When he was finished, there on the canvas was a beautiful picture of a mother, holding a sleeping baby in her arms, smiling lovingly at the child.
He thought, surely, this is true peace, and hurried to give the picture to the wealthy man. But again, the wealthy man refused the painting and asked the painter to try again.
The artist returned again to his studio. He was discouraged, he was tired and he was disappointed. Anger swelled inside him, he felt the rejection of this wealthy man. Again, he thought, he even prayed for inspiration to paint a picture of true peace.
Then, all of a sudden an idea came, he rushed to the canvas and began to paint as he had never painted before. When he finished, he hurried to the wealthy man.
He gave the painting to the man. He studied it carefully for several minutes. The artist held his breath. Then the wealthy man said, “Now this is a true portrait of peace.” He accepted the painting and paid the artist handsomely.
And what did this portrait of peace look like?
The picture showed a stormy sea pounding against a cliff. The artist had captured the furry of the wind as it whipped black rain clouds which were laced with streaks of lightening. The sea was roaring in turmoil, waves churning, the dark sky filled with the power of the furious thunderstorm.
And in the middle of the picture, under a cliff, the artist had painted a small bird, safe and dry in her nest snuggled safely in the rocks. The bird was at peace in the middle of the storm that raged about her.