Fascinating Story - "Chasing the Light"
Now that he is gone, I can look at the story of his life with more objectivity and I am in awe. "Chasing the Light" is not just a story of Cliff's life but a dramatic, intimate, fascinating parable - a parable is a succinct story that illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles.
It's a parable because Cliff experienced all of life's wounds and dealt with them deliberately and successfully.
He experienced spiritual rejection from the church at a critical young age, intellectual rejection from the school system, the pain of a family wound because he didn't want to become a farmer like his father, rejection from the love of his life, and the rejection of himself. He rejected his own amazing gift because he deemed it unworthy,
He also experienced the worst tragedy possible - that of the murder of his oldest daughter, Candace, who resembled him in everyway. The murder and assault of a child is considered unforgiveable - and destroys many.
Then he experienced the full force of societies' tendency to "blame the victim" and was suspected of killing his own daughter to the point where he had to take a lie detector test to appease the police suspicion.
On top of all of that he lost his dream job which he had worked most of his life to attain. .
It was just too much!
Then like the prodigal son he ran away from his Father and found himself living in filth on many levels. He kept sinking. At this point he felt he had lost everything; the loss of the respect of his children, the loss of control of his mind and even his desire to worship his God.
At the bottom, he chooses again the one thing that had helped him before - to forgive. But at this level of despair, the choice had to be deliberate and all-consuming.
His journey back to freedom, joy and peace is as dramatic as his life's challenges He documents this journey through fifteen metaphorical sculptures. Even this creative journey back is not without its losses - one of his favorites sculptures is stolen. He creates another but it is never the same. He has to forgive again!
This contemporary parable ends with his biggest teaching. Even as he was dying, he redeemed the short time he had left here on earth by writing and compiling his life story.
His life story teaches us that the road of forgiveness is not simple, it requires everything in us. It is an art form. It requires counter-intuitive sacrifices - but it is worth every tear!
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela