Trust the ProcessFeb 15, 2023
Blog by Gem Fadling
A few years ago, on our first trip to Italy, we visited the Accademia Gallery in Florence. We specifically wanted to see Michelangelo’s David. Though absolutely exhausted from jet lag, we were determined to make our way on foot from our Airbnb over to the museum.
As breathtaking as the statue of David is in its size and beauty, I was surprised to find another set of Michelangelo sculptures that were just as intriguing.
In the gallery just before David stand multiple pedestals that hold partially completed sculptures. Michelangelo had been commissioned to create a three-story, freestanding tomb with over 40 figures. The project morphed over the 40 years he was connected to it, shrinking in size, and it ended up as a funerary monument that was only a fraction of what the artist had envisioned and could have achieved if he’d had time to complete it. The Sistine Chapel took up much of his time and took away from the completion of this project.
These four unfinished sculptures that now stand in the room next to David never made it onto the tomb. They are known as “the Prisoners.” Half marble block, half human figure, the statues are a reminder of an incomplete project.
But what struck me was that they were not thrown out. They are not considered wasted time or rubbish. They are considered art. They are displayed in a world-renowned museum and are loved for what they are. Even a half-finished Michelangelo is something to marvel at.
I’ve thought about these incomplete statues quite a few times since then. Can I love every part of my inner formation process even if what I dreamed didn’t come to complete fruition? Can I accept the unfinished attempts to create something beautiful?
Sometimes we start out on a certain path but circumstances change. We don’t have control over all the moving parts and our plans get derailed. Along the way, some parts get completed and others don’t. The end result isn’t what we thought it would be.
But, like Michelangelo’s “Prisoners,” could we learn to see the unfinished bits as a cherished part of the process, a necessary step on the way to what we actually accomplish?
This can apply to work projects, but it can also be helpful to consider this in light of our own inner work and formation. Either way, it’s a great metaphor for loving all parts of the process.
Michelangelo’s incomplete works stand in the room right next to one of his greatest achievements. All of it is considered art and is protected and cherished.
May it be so with our lives.
- Can I love every part of my process, even if what I dreamed didn’t come to its complete fruition?
- Can I accept my unfinished attempts to create something beautiful?
- How might I receive God's love in my current form?