A few days ago, someone asked me what I thought of the life and death of Thomas Kinkade. I knew it was a loaded question, looking for my response because of how he died, of alcoholism and overdosing on Valium. His life and death was a tragedy in many ways.
I've read articles on his life and death. Many of these articles are as cruel to him as the critics that hounded him when he was alive. Some actually go so far as to desecrate and ruin his paintings, because they are too "beautiful" for reality. Personally, I would choose a Kinkade painting any day over most of the "art" or video games that are out there today.
Mr. Kinkade grew up in difficult surroundings and knew what it was like to be poor, and see his family live through depression, and bad choices. Through it he developed values that helped him come up out of poverty, and his original mindset was good. He wanted to use his artistic gift to bring enjoyment and happiness to ordinary people, and do it simply because he enjoyed it himself. It should have stayed that simple for him. The success he began to develop would have stayed with him, and so would have his family, and his peace of mind.
But, he didn't learn to ignore, and not pay attention to his critics, and those who make it their business to destroy the joy in other's lives. Yes, there are joy killers in this world. These are people who do not care what your intentions are in using the gifts or interests you have. If it doesn't benefit them in some fashion, they can find every manner of ways to ridicule, criticize, and destroy what you are doing. Their actions are cruel, senseless, and deceitful; many times fueled by envy, jealousy, or hatred. This is the work of the devil, Jesus told us about; "The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come to give life and that more abundantly."
Mr. Kinkade came up against this as we all do. He should have considered the source of where it was coming from, and rose above them. But, I'm not condemning him at all, simply making an observation. I also do wonder if any of the people in "Christian media", tried to help him, and support him if they knew he was in distress and struggling. From my own experiences, I doubt it.
The media and their relentless attacks on his every move wore him down, and caused him to become cynical. Bad business deals mounted, because when money becomes the object of success, wisdom in business deals seems to go out the window for most people. He lost sight of the reasons he painted, and lost the joy it brought him in the beginning; and never recovered it.
I've experienced this in life, and know the hurt and pain it can cause. But, I do something when this happens that makes the difference in how I handle it. I take what is done and said against me to God, and lay it at His feet. Then I spend as much time as it takes in the scriptures and read them as I pray until I know I've heard from heaven, and know what to do about the situation. That is always my strategy to this day, and because of it; the devil knows he is defeated in my life. I am covered, and protected by the hand of God, and His word is my light, and my refuge. When you know what God's word says about a thing; nothing the devil can do will defeat you. If Mr. Kinkade had done this, he would have gained the victory over his addictions, and his critics. People's opinions come and go, the only opinion that matters in this life and the next is God himself, and what He says. I am secure in His care, and that truth and that assurance will see me through until He chooses to take me home.
When I began this website, the Lord impressed me to buy a camera and take it with me on road trips, and when I go kayaking, to take some photos of the beauty of my state of Vermont and New Hampshire, and wildlife if I got the chance, and to use them to create picture and scripture graphics to post here for the enjoyment of seniors, the disabled, someone in a hospital bed, etc. The thought and hope was that it would bring enjoyment, inspiration, and perhaps minister to someone who may never be able to have access to see this kind of beauty. I soon came up against the same kind of critics, and ridicule as Kinkade did. It amazes me how people can misunderstand, or simply not care, and act with such foolishness. It has not stopped me from continuing to take my camera with me; I'm not going to allow anyone to destroy something that is simple and good in my life. I feel sorry for people like this.
When I get to heaven, I hope to meet Mr. Kinkade, and tell him myself the joy his paintings have brought me over the years, and look forward to seeing what God has him doing and what he is creating in heaven. He may have made his share of mistakes here, and perhaps lost some years he should have remained to work for God while here; but I'm sure he is making up for it now in heaven. Now that he is there, he will never again hear the voice of cruelty or ridicule. I'm sure his joy is now complete. Below is a Kindkade painting I especially enjoy, in his honor.