Inna Sagrada Familia
Those who know me, know that I am a very impatient person when it comes to making things. If a craft project has more than two steps (one of them being, “read directions”), forget it! Gardening has always struck me as endless waiting for a merely possible result. Even with things I love to do, like cook, my favorite recipes are Rachael Ray’s 30 minute wonders. Now, contrarily, I refuse to go the fast food route. That is just cheating! I want to do the work (and reap the compliments), I just want that work to be finished lickety-split.
But I have always been fascinated by huge projects that took years, even centuries, to complete. You know, The Pyramids. I-95. That sort of thing. Especially when the people who began the work die before it is done. I think about my load of unfinished business-- church odds and ends, partial essays--and cannot imagine anyone taking up the projects after I am gone to the great beyond. It will all land in the trash I am sure, and I certainly can’t blame my loved ones for pitching it. After all, it is “my thing” and not theirs.
Which is why I was so struck by Sagrada Familia, the incredible Catholic cathedral-in-progress we visited in Barcelona. This architectural wonder was conceived and begun by the artist Antoni Gaudi in the late 19th century to honor the Holy Family. It is a gorgeous blend of traditional and modern elements, from stained glass windows that are just blocks of light-catching colors, to the altar crucifix - which hangs from a chandelier. Gaudi plotted everything out meticulously, and made copious drawings. These came in very handy when his colleagues and students took over in 1926, following Gaudi’s untimely death in a traffic accident. They took on his vision as their own. Construction has taken well over 100 years (with breaks during wartime), and the church will not be completed until 2026. Indeed, the day we were there scaffolding could be seen in several places. Magnificent music from the organ rang out over done and undone alike. We fell in love with Sagrada Familia, exactly where it is right now. It is a living work of art, and if we never make it back to Barcelona, our not seeing the finished product will in no way detract from its profound effect on us.
So. Back in the USA, where entire developments of McMansions spring up within months. Beautifully made? Built to last? Who cares! We want it done yesterday! As for me, inspired by Gaudi’s gradual masterpiece, I will try to slow down and take my time on my next creative endeavor, be it an essay or a stew. I will learn to appreciate the value of each step, and take pride in the process. Life is so unpredictable, after all, that even a “rush job” may not ever get a chance to be finished. Therefore, what’s the big hurry? Answer: there really is none.