India is a land of contrast. One finds the obvious – rich and poor, clean and dirty. One of the things I notice is the difference between those that pay attention to detail and the alternative. I have seen some of the most intricate carvings, stunningly beautiful rugs, and wonderful architecture in India. With each, the care, painstaking detail, resulting beauty was both stunning and inspiring. Sadly this is anything but the norm.
The average carving in the shop is crude. It seems to have been made in a rush. The carpets have flaws, as often as not seemingly careless flaws. The usual building is basic, poorly constructed, and looks older than its age. Corners are not square. You can see the flaws and crude repair. Leaks, rough edges, and breakdowns are accepted as a natural part of life. Tourists and residents seem satisfied with the average.
As you extend this out, you end up with poor quality road construction, aging shopping centers, and a level of dirt that would otherwise be unacceptable. Nobody expects different. I do not know why this is the option of choice when there is evidence that so much more is possible. It is as if seeing is not enough.
The paradox partially extends through life in India with one exception. In general, the people of India know how to worship! With different faith systems on display, worship is out on display with an openness, intensity, and attention to detail. As a culture, they have embraced the mantra of “Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness.” (Psalm 34.9)
I wonder where I sit in the spectrum of choices. Am I satisfied with the average? Do I want more than the minimum? As much as I would like to think so, the evidence says I am ok with what is. As a day begins I realize that I thirst for more. I want to engage differently – bringing out the details of life, perfecting the fit, and releasing the natural beauty. After all, we are artists.