Portrait of a Life Well Lived

Photo Credit –Artist Wayne Brezinka

What if someone took a box of your most prized possessions and created a portrait of you? Would it look like you? Would it capture the person you are? Or were? Or wanted to be? What kind of life would it reflect? I have been thinking about that this week after reading an article on Nashville Public Radio about artist Wayne Brezinka and his latest masterpiece.

You may have heard of Zach Sobiech. If you haven’t, I encourage you to take  time to learn his story. Zach was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, when he was 14. His story is one of hope and joy. I remember gathering my family around my laptop in 2013 to watch his documentary. At the end, after sitting in reverent silence for a few minutes, my sniffles filling the quiet, we talked together about what it looks like to live well.

Zach Sobeich lived a beautiful life.

Earlier this week, I learned that Zach’s mother, Laura, asked artist Wayne Brezinka to create a portrait of her son, using some of Zach’s most “precious belongings.” Brezinka gathered each item and somehow  “incorporated them into one, cohesive image.” I keep thinking about how these valuable, significant items from Zach’s life were used to make a beautiful portrait, a complete picture of this amazing young man.

The moments we live and the things we value shape who we are. What will people see when they see the sum of my life?

I look at this portrait and immediately notice the depth, love, and strength of a young man I never knew. What a gift Brezinka offers us in his ability to really notice the things that make a person beautiful. I pray I might have eyes to see others like that. By using his art, he captures the beauty in Zach, allowing us to embrace the joy and life in the midst of a painful struggle, a courageous battle.

So many emotions and thoughts surface as I consider this story. I fear my tendency to want to express it all in one post might take away from the power of the story. Instead, I encourage you to read and watch the stories for yourself. They are worth the time.

As he spoke about the process of making Zach’s portrait, Brezinka said, “Life is for me, short. It’s really short. Do I want to live in a lot of fear and be afraid or do I want to live and not care, immersing myself in life and drinking it up because it is so short.”

Together, Zach and Wayne are encouraging me to do the latter.