I was barely sixteen when I experinced my first trip to Europe as part of a typical European tour for a group of students. How lucky I was! Better yet, I recognized how lucky I was at the time.
The tour began with a week in London, its suburbs and a play in Stratford-Upon-Avon, followed by a sea departure from the white cliffs of Dover, our arrival in France, a bus ride to Paris--less than a week in the city that takes years to know. One day was designated to the Louvre. Perhaps it was half of a day, but I clearly remember a crowd, a tour guide, a glimpse of the Venus de Milo, the requisite Mona Lisa, and hours later feeling tortured and hating the Louvre. It was too much for my young mind!
The next visit was with Tony who took the same approach as the student tour. Buy a ticket, see it all! At least until you pass out, your legs buckle, or they carry you out on a stretcher from art exhaustion.
Needless to say, the next trip, on my insistence, we avoided the Louvre. And the next.
But this time, something pulled me back to the Louvre, and it wasn't that it was just down the street!!
I'd matured, yes. And then Tony discovered the Friends of the Louvre pass--and as mentioned several times already, we went to the Louvre everyday. Dropping in on the world's art became a passion.
How did I reform?
I came to an understanding that the steps needed to appreciate the Louvre are similar to the steps needed to appreciate many un-appreciated things--or even the same steps if we accept the challenge of a deeper journey: How do we learn to love__________-- people we don't understand, cultures that seem weird, music we are not used to, a pesky acquaintance,---how do we learn to love an obnoxious child?
We learn to love the unloveable with time, dedication, study, patience, compassion, and the willingness to have a change of heart. The willingness to try again, and maybe even again.
Granted, an art museum is different than a bothersome neighbor or a screaming child, but the principle still holds. For that is another story...and another story I could tell... I dare you to write that story of your own. Experiment upon the principle.