The next time I complain about having to do something that I reeeeaaaaaalllllly don't want to do, I'm going to remember Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel.
In 1508, Michelangelo was very happy doing what he did best - sculpting. He loved to sculpt. Give him a hammer and a giant piece of marble, and he was one happy guy.
One day, David...one day, I'll get to visit you...sigh...
He also wrote sonnets. Bad sonnets, apparently.
He wrote a rather mocking sonnet one day about the current Pope at that time, Pope Julius II. Julius was understandably not happy about this sonnet, and hauled Michelangelo into his private domain to read him the riot act about writing derogatory sonnets about Popes. Not cool.
The Pope decided Michelangelo had too much time on his hands, if he could be writing bad sonnets, so he decided to give him a project.
"Paint my ceiling, " the Pope demanded, pointing to the Sistine Chapel.
Michelangelo initially refused, which was kind of silly, because when the Pope asks for something - well, demands something, actually - it's pretty much a waste of time to say "no" to the Pope.
"I'm a sculptor - not a painter," Michelangelo tried to tell the Pope.
And we all know what happened...Michelangelo spent the next four years of his life, painting that ceiling.
Our family just watched a movie that tells this story much better than I just did...Rex Harrison and Charlton Heston, in the 1965 "The Agony and The Ecstasy".
You know it has to pretty good with these two guys...
This movie was pretty darn good. Even the kids enjoyed it...so much so, that they've watched it TWICE in the last few days. It really brings the story to life, and shows just how much work, how much agony, Michelangelo put into that ceiling.
But the ecstasy of the finished product...???
I visited the Sistine Chapel when I visited Rome in 2009, and it was truly take-your-breath-away beautiful. At the time, I really didn't know the entire "back" story of how it got painted, so if - and when - I ever see this ceiling again, I'll know the story.
And the next time my kids start arguing with me about having to do something they don't want to do, I'm just going to go all "Pope Julius" on them, and tell them, "I don't care if it takes you FOUR years - ON YOUR BACK!"
Because now they know.
When Popes...or Moms...want something done...it WILL get done.