Last year I read a blog post which made a great impact on me. The blogger described her visit to a relative who was a missionary in a rural area of Africa. He taught his students using next to no equipment- they sat under the trees as they did not even have a classroom or desks. But they were so motivated and hungry to learn that they applied themselves with great enthusiasm and, against all odds, achieved great things. The blogger related how her relative put Theodore Roosevelt's famous quotation, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are" into practice.
She returned to America to teach her own students in a well-equipped lecture hall. They had every electronic aid imaginable, but they were distracted and not interested in learning. I expected her to complain about their lack of appreciation of their wonderful facilities, but in a twist at the end, she related how she began to do what she could, with what she had, where she was.
Last year my husband and I visited "The Jewel of the Free State", the beautiful South African village of Clarens. Many artists live and work there, but one in particular stood out. His name was Morgan and he brought Roosevelt's words to life for me.
Morgan was a gifted artist, and day by day he did what he could—he painted.
The painting below was displayed on the grass at the side of the road which was his shop front.
Morgan used what was available. Here you can see him with his easel and the board which served as a palette.
We bought this vibrant painting, which now has pride of place in my kitchen. If you look carefully, you'll notice the "canvas" is simply a rusty old piece of metal embellished with barbed wire. Morgan probably found both materials in a scrap-heap on a nearby farm.
And Morgan's studio? He painted where he was—under the trees on the village green where he had natural lighting and a view of the mountains.
You know the true meaning of Roosevelt's words.You are an inspiration.
If you have read the blog that I mentioned at the beginning and have a link to it, please leave it in the comments below. I didn't make a note of it and would love to read it again.