I heard something interesting about the great Michelangelo. In his lifetime, among his many other accomplishments, he worked on over forty statues, but completed less than half of them. The statues he finished are still some of the greatest works of art the world has ever known…the magnificent David, his incomparable Pietà and his exquisite rendering of Moses, to name a few.
But those he never finished are interesting, too. I understand they can be seen in a museum in Italy. On display is a huge chunk of marble from which only an elbow or a wrist awkwardly protrude. Others show a leg, a thigh, a knee, a calf, a foot … even some toes. The rest of the body is locked in the lump of rock.
Michelangelo is reputed to have said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Did he fail to discover what was hidden within those stones? Or did he see something there in his mind’s eye but was interrupted before he could reveal its beauty? In either case, what is locked inside the marble may stay there forever.
And how like so many of us that is. We have unseen potential that takes time, maybe a lifetime, to be revealed. And how terrible when we get stuck, when we live and die with so much potential unrealized. How sad when only a small part of who we truly are ever emerges.
Writer Brian Tracy says, “The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be released and channeled toward some great good.” But I wonder … do they know it? Do average people know what great potential and exquisite beauty is hidden within? Do they see all they can become? All that is possible for them? Or do they only see the rough and uncut marble? How great a tragedy it is to live a life and never emerge from the rock; never even realize how magnificent is the person unrevealed inside.
What will it take for you to break free of the stone and take the shape of your destiny?