Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, December 26, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 2


(continued from pge 1)

bouts of depression, and then 
later, the spells of epilepsy 
would weaken him further. 
Consistently lacking money, he 
was assailed by malnutrition 
throughout his adult life. His 
brother, being an art dealer, 
financially supported him and 
encouraged Willem to paint 
with the hope that he may 
obtain some moments of relief. 

Willem had no formal training 
as a painter, but he was 
exceedingly passionate about 
his hobby, and painted at night 
(this was the period before 
electricity, so lanterns and 
candles were the inventions 
that provided light between the 
hours of sunset to sunrise). The 
amusing custom that Willem 
acquired was to remove candles 
from his chandelier and affix 
them around the brim of his hat 
to better observe the colors he 
was painting. 

The life of Willem ended in 
poverty, only able to sell a single 
painting before his death. His 
art, much like his life, was not 
truly appreciated during its 
time. If ever a person required 
help, it was this man. For the 
betterment of our world, we are 
fortunate that three guardian 
angels came to his rescue. The 
first, his brother, Theo, who 
supported him financially and 
emotionally with an unyielding 
sense of kindness. His brother’s 
comforting characteristics 
undoubtedly extended Willem’s 
life by many years. The second 
was his friend who assisted 
Willem during his mental 
struggles, Dr. Gachet -- a man 
who would gather and protect 
many of Willem’s paintings after 
his death. The third, and final 
angel, emerges in his loving 
sister-in-law, Johanna, who after 
her husband Theo’s passing, 
circulated Willem’s paintings to 
audiences around the world.

Today, our Willem is known by 
a different name: Vincent van 
Gogh. In one of his periods of 
personal darkness, when Van 
Gogh had been institutionalized 
in a mental asylum, he was still 
capable of painting one of the 
most profound emotions of 
art, “The Starry Night.” Seated 
in the center of the canvas, a 
church spire points skyward 
to yellow stars that seem to 
sail as sunflowers through the 
night. If Van Gogh did not have 
people who cared about him, he 
would have never become an 
artist, and upon his death, his 
mementos to the world, as he 
liked to say, would have been 
discarded as useless pieces of 
canvas. There is agreement in 
our age that a bright star, and an 
amazing element of art would 
have been lost, had Van Gogh 
never painted. It seems this 
would have made our existence 
less glorious. 

Try to imagine for a moment 
that you had never met your 
best friend. How would your 
life be different? Your life may 
remain wonderful, but this 
we know, something would 
have been missed; for there is 
art, literature and friends who 
change us.

The Willems of the world are 
all around us if we care to look. 
They wander the sidewalks as 
broken people of the street. They 
have succumbed to homeless by 
various sorts of circumstances, 
but each is a person who is 
created as a blessed masterpiece 
of a Heavenly kind. They are 
our mothers, fathers, brothers, 
sisters and friends. All too often, 
they have no an angel to help. 
In one of his letters to Theo, 
Vincent van Gogh wrote that 
when he wanted to be with God, 
he went outside and looked up 
at the stars. 

As we move past the star that 
brought Christmas, and begin 
to march upon the coming year, 
I wonder if the New Year will 
be any different for the people 
of the streets. I wonder if they 
will feel more love, hope and 
charity in the days ahead. I 
know as well as any, how easy 
it is to squander and miss the 
humble opportunities to create 
a difference every day. We might 
be shocked by the appreciation 
that is spoken when we help a 
person who has little hope -- a 
person whose life is changed 
by the simple thought that 
someone cares.

There are many great groups 
in our City of Angels, and 
one of those Heroes of Hope 
is the Union Rescue Mission. 
They have served the less 
fortunate of our community 
for more than 100 years. They 
are restoring those lost and 
suffering, and reuniting people 
of the street back with their 
families, as they turn tears 
of despair into God-given 
gratitude. If you desire stories 
of triumph, log onto the Union 
Rescue website:

It is the place to watch the most 
inspirational comebacks of 
2020, and it will encourage you 
to imagine a different kind of 
hope for the coming year.

Craig Hakola



Mountain View News Saturday, December 26, 2020 

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