Different Pictures.

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See these owls?

LuLu, Lily, & Jack painted them in a class with a dozen other kids back in 2015.

I’ve always liked these three owls. At our last house, they sat on a ledge in the laundry room, keeping a watchful eye over anyone who might attempt to mix the whites with the colors.

Here at the new house, they sit in my office where it’s my turn to keep an eye on them.

The artwork is nothing special, of course. No different than what you would expect from any seven or eight-year-old kid with a canvas, paints, and an instructor leading the way.

On the surface, it’s just kid art.


But look closer, and you’ll find a window through which you can glimpse of the inner workings of the human mind.

All three were painted on the same day and at the same time by people of similar age and ability. Each used the same canvas, the same brushes, and the same paints. The same instructor led them and, notwithstanding the choice of a hotdog, hamburger, or chicken nuggets, they even had the same thing for dinner.

But the outcome for each person was totally different.

The blank canvas presented the same problem to each, but the solution each painted was totally different.

Is that not the human condition?

It’s not so much our problems that define who we are but, rather, the way we react to our them.

Two drummers lose an arm in a car accident. One becomes a victim and never plays the drums again. The other is Rick Allen who has been playing for Def Leppard with only one arm since 1986.

Two girls are born into poverty, both children of a teenaged mother. They are raised in the inner city, sexual abused, and pregnant at 14 only to have their child die in infancy. One never escapes poverty while the other becomes Oprah Winfrey.

Two men are fired from their jobs. One turns to alcohol and drugs, ending up divorced and homeless. The other is Steve Jobs and, well, you know that story.

Everywhere you look, the story is the same. The same thing happens to two people. One becomes X, and the other becomes Y.

The canvas was the same.

But the picture is totally different.