I painted this because I felt like the play [a play he was in] was about life, and life is full of color, and we each get to come along and we add our own color to the painting. And even though it’s not very big, the painting, we still have to figure it goes on forever, you know, in each direction, so like to infinity, because that’s kind of like life.
It’s really crazy if you think about it, isn’t it? That 100 years ago some guy that I never met came to this country with a suitcase. He has a son, who has a son, who has me. So at first when I was painting, I was thinking maybe up here, that was that guy’s part of the painting, and then down here that’s my part of the painting. And then I started to think, what if we’re all in the painting everywhere? What if we’re in the painting before we’re born? What if we’re in the painting after we die? And these colors that we keep adding, what if they keep getting added on top of one another until eventually we’re not even different colors anymore, we’re just one thing? One painting.
And my dad is not with us anymore, he’s not alive. But he’s with us. He’s with me every day. It all just sort of fits somehow, even if you don’t understand how yet. People will die in our lives, people that we love, in the future, maybe tomorrow, maybe years from now. It’s kind of beautiful if you think about it, the fact that just because someone dies, just because you can’t see them or talk to them anymore, it doesn’t mean they’re not still in the painting.
I think maybe that’s the point of the whole thing. There’s no dying. There’s no you, or me, or them…it’s just us. And this sloppy, wild, colorful, magical thing that has no beginning, no end…that’s right here. I think it’s us.
So why is the thought that Kevin shares a Jewish idea? Because while we, as humans, experience time in a linear sense in this world – we see great grandfathers coming first and then great grandsons coming later – this is not how time actually exists. The linear nature of time is only an illusion.
According to Judaism, time actually exists as God’s time, as God experiences it. In Hebrew, the word for God, the Ineffable name (we say “Hashem” – which literally means “the name” – instead of pronouncing the actual name, since it’s ineffable!) is made up of four letters. Those letters are “Yud” then “Hey” then “Vav” then “Hey.” In Hebrew, each letter represents a different word: Haya – Was, Hoveh – Is, Y’heyeh – Will Be.
The essence of God in Judaism is that He was, is, and will be. He exists in all times at once and perceives all times at once because all times actually exist at once. Just like in Kevin’s painting. Just like how the show jumps back and forth through time. Those scenes we see are not out of order. We’re just seeing different parts of the “painting” since all those moments (or colors) actually exist simultaneously.
In our small, human experience of this world, time goes from “beginning,” to “middle, to “end.” And when we get to various ends, they are often deeply painful. The losses are unfathomable. And they shouldn’t be minimized. But our perception in this world is limited, which is why ends hurt so badly. And Kevin realizes this and acknowledges that “we don’t understand how [this all works together] yet.”
On high, in the spiritual plain, in God’s realm and in the World To Come, where we will all join Him one day – we will all become One. Are souls will no longer separated like the distinct colors. Our souls will rejoin their Source, and we all become One. Kevin explains this concept too when he says that the colors in painting are no longer distinct colors. The painting is just one. It is then and there that we will finally understand and experience that there is no order to time and that there is no separation between us.
Kevin is not the smartest character in this show, but the writers gave him some of the most profound wisdom that exists in this world. And if you’re sorry to see this show end, just remember, there are no ends.