The 19th century essayist and poet, Matthew Arnold said, "Excellence is not common and abundant. On the contrary, as the Greek poet long ago said, excellence dwells among rocks hardly accessible, and a man must almost wear his heart out before he can reach her."
Perhaps almost wearing your heart is the cost of excellence, the price of creation.
When I was fifteen I took my first and only trip to Kashmir, not realizing that generations would grow up thinking of that enchanted place not as the paradise we did, but as a battleground.
There was this shop in Srinagar owned by this old artist/artisan who made the most exquisite papier mache, (not the stuff you get in the state emporia), delicate, multi-layered, intricate flawless pieces. He signed all his work on the bottom, in a sprawling calligraphic signature...the same name as his store, 'Suffering Moses.' His name was Moses. I had to know, had to ask him, 'Why Suffering Moses?"
He looked at me, intently, his eyes a strange shade somewhere between green and grey, the pink skin of his cheeks glowing, "Young lady. How else could I make anything beautiful? Only by suffering, right? I suffer for my art. You create nothing good if you don't suffer."
And that to me, is the relationship between excellence and suffering. Thank you Suffering Moses wherever you are.