“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
Deep in the forests near Moscow, Russia lived a man named Konstantin Durov, who was an avid collector of art. In his palatial estate, he lined the walls with some of the most beautiful paintings known to man. Monet, Sargent, Homer, Durer, all of these artists mingled with one another in this collection that could rival many museums. Mr. Durov employed historians, cleaners, and decorators, all to ensure that each painting was at its prime. He would often go from scene to scene, rearranging the order or changing the frames simply to build up to something even greater.
None of the paintings brought him any pleasure, however. No matter how many he acquired, no matter how many times he rearranged them or the rooms they resided in, he was still left with a burning desire to find another to hang on the wall. They whet his appetite before he walked into the main room.
Here was Konstantin’s true passion. In the main room hung a row of Boldini paintings, from portraits to gorgeous scenes. Each one was at eye level so that the collector didn’t have to crane his neck to study them. Every day, when he passed by each of them, his fingers would linger on the wooden frames as he lovingly gazed at each canvas. His imagination was trapped by something that he could not hold but was tortured by every day. He would only stop when he reached the blank space at the end, a place to hang the last piece. It was here that the fires of obsession became a blaze. All of his hopes, all of his dreams lingered in the void that this missing painting had created. All he wanted, all that he needed, was lost to him.
For years he suffered in silence, his daily ritual never changing, no matter how much he tried to search for his missing Boldini. That was until one day, when his assistant, Lilia, called him from Paris. It was possible that she had found the painting in a small collection of impressionistic pieces that had been passed to a collector’s beneficiary. Konstantin tried not to breathe as he begged her to describe the painting in great detail.
“The painting is on a common canvas stretched on a plain wooden frame. The scene is a Parisian street painted in soft grays and yellows. Lit windows illuminate pedestrians in turn of the century clothing, stepping around puddles on cobblestones. The swishing brush strokes are certainly his style, giving the impression of movement. He is certainly a Master,” she sighed.
“Is she there?” he breathed, licking his lips as he dared to hope that he had finally found what he was looking for.
Lilia could barely contain her excitement. “I think so, Mr. Durov, but the painting still must be verified. I’m bringing the painting to your residence. I’ll call Vasily, the expert, and have him meet me there. I will see you soon.” The phone clicked in his hand, and yet caused a stirring in his blood like none that he had ever known before. Could it be that his long walks in darkness would soon see the light at last?
If Konstantin Durov thought that he was restless before, he was ill prepared for the sleepless nights that punctuated his wait for the arrival of the mysterious painting. When the crate was wheeled into his office, the eager collector could barely contain his excitement. As the authenticator carefully pulled the canvas from its packaging, Durov caught her eyes amongst the pedestrians on the street. “Olga,” he breathed, tasting her name as he crossed the room and plucked the painting from the expert. His eyes slid around all of the others, his gaze picking his great-grandmother out in each; sometimes the subject, sometimes just an extra in the Parisian scenes. This would be the last, the final piece in order to chronicle his ancestor’s life under the brush strokes of someone else’s expert hands. Relief washed over him as he silently hung the painting in its place. Satisfaction caused a smile to nestle his face. His life’s work was finally completed.
Thus we see that even the wildest dreams can be reached, even though it may take us a lifetime to do so. Never give up on your dreams. They are within your reach if you're willing to extend yourself to grasp them.