This is Matisse.
We wish he'd learn to relax.
There's a saying on Wall Street: "The market climbs a wall of worry." The metaphor describes a paradoxical, counterintuitive principle: there are always looming threats, risks that should cause any sensible person to avoid venturing a penny on investments. Somehow the future bad news gets priced in. More often than not, the investment works out.
It occurs to me that's not only true of investing, but of life. There's always a wall of worry. The media enable us to gorge on everything that's bad and going to get worse. The news is mostly a collage of everything scary and depressing. It's hypnotic, insistent. If the news were all that happened, it would make no sense to carry on.
But most of the time, all that is only background. Our challenge is to acknowledge it, do what we can to "take arms against a sea of troubles" -- and keep it in proportion. Sometimes it touches us, usually not. Meanwhile, every day offers un-newsworthy miracles: beauty in countless forms, an unexpected smile from a stranger, the trust of a mate or dear friend or pet, creating something new with whatever talent we were given and developed. The wall of worry is real. So is the climbing of it.