“Distractions” is based on the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25: 1-13.
Ten virgins go out to await the return of the bridegroom. Five of the girls were wise and five were foolish. One group brought extra lamp oil and the other group did not bring enough. The wait was long and the girls fell asleep. At midnight, they heard the bridegroom was on his way. All the lamps need refilling and the five wise virgins were prepared, but they did not have enough to share. The foolish virgins had to leave and come back with more oil. The bridegroom welcomed the wise virgins into the feast, but the foolish virgins were late and were not allowed to partake. The reader is admonished to “keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (v. 13)
In this piece, the two girls represent the two groups of virgins. One girl has her eyes up and is watching. The lamp burns brightly within her. The other girl is distracted and has her eyes on her phone. Smoke from a flame that has extinguished is within her. Her flower crown is empty while the ‘wise’ girl’s crown is full of the ‘heavens.’ All around them are the wonders of the heavens, and dawn is coming. Our daily concerns and the clamoring world are constantly competing for our attention and focus. We must fight all the more to focus on what is really important.
This painting is in a private collection