The above painting is of Watt Smith the young man I met while running. We had agreed to meet the following day for breakfast, and I was to do his portrait. I was worried about being late for breakfast, and totally forgot any art supplies. After breakfast, he asked, “So where should we do the portrait?”

Ohhhhh…I totally forgot!!! I felt very sorry. I am not in the mindset or the mode of doing portraits of everyone I meet yet. I haven’t really started to think about the 10,000-portrait-project. On top of that, I had to get to work. It was in other words; a total disaster. My only recourse was to take his photo with the iPhone, which doesn’t take bad pictures…but doesn’t take good ones either.

I spent a lot of time last night, as I painted his portrait from the photo, to think about the incident. I also thought a lot about the fact that I will pick up my tunic tomorrow, mine as your may remember is very similar to Scaughdt’s. As I thought about taking and one day preparing to wear that mantle, I asked myself, would I and could I wear it conscientiously? Can I and will I be the person that I think aught to wear that? Do I, and will I try to make peace in my life? Do I create peace with others? Do I have peace within myself? Do I create peace in all situations? Do I have peace with my job/boss/coworkers/students? Do I have peace with alcohol/drugs/diet/or anything else I put in or on my body?

There are so many things that we all know we shouldn’t do. Do we need to eat as much food as we do? We know the harmful effects of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs, yet we do them anyway. We know to be nice to others, and yet we are mean, spiteful, and nasty anyway. The big question is, can we be selfless instead of selfish? Can I? Can I examine my life, and decide to be nice, kind, loving, forgiving, and sympathetic to others? Can I be that to myself? Can I willingly decide to become the best I am able?

I don’t mean to infer that I will become “sinless” or perfect from here on out. In that regard, I will fail. But, that is just the point, can I live with intention, can I live an examined life where motive and action are both positive and kind to everyone and myself despite the occasional setback? This is the only call: Do your best to be kind to others and yourself.

So, this morning, I will run, because it is good for my body, and it is good for others. I got rid of all the alcohol I had. I got rid of the chocolate, the burritos, and the other unhealthy “food”. It isn’t that I can never have these “foods”, I am not some kind of ascetic. It is just that I know when I am eating them, I am not eating them for health, or to be kind to the body. Like any other athlete, I must make sacrifices of personal comfort in order to accomplish the goal.

So the question remains, can I become “The Peace Artist”? Can I lay down the self? Can I put others first? Can I seek to be last?

I will try.