Wednesday, June 20, 2012


So I told you I've been creating this week.  And honestly, I'm almost always creating something.  (And I, please!  I'm working on it.  I want to get an "art" tab up on this page soon; I've been slacking.  But it is part of what I do, what God has put in me, and so I will share.  This particular project?  The paint is drying in the living room.)

Not everyone thinks of themselves as a create-r.  It's easy to be intimidated by the Mona Lisas, by the Ode to Joys, by the movies and the music and the photos and the paintings and the drawings and the constructions and the creations of "gifted" craftsmen whose work is all around us.  For the record, I think that's a shame.  There are things here that only you can create, that are infused into your spirit, and if you pour your love out into are a create-r.  Period.  God created you to create.

But if you haven't tapped that yet, don't worry; you have a part in this art, too: you were created to enjoy it.

You were created into the mystery of every art that is you but is not yours.  That place where you don't know the how or the why or sometimes even the who, but you wouldn't have to - creation simply takes your breath away.  For every reason that is beyond words...  It just gets in you.

And may I tell you a secret?  As a create-r, I think you ought to know that as much as you were created to enjoy was created for you to enjoy.

This is where I think we do "art" - in any of its forms - a great disservice.  It's where we fashion ourselves too rational a people to simply enjoy it and we get into this attitude of assessing art.  Breaking it down.  Analyzing it to its extremes, regardless of whether we have any chance at all of ever knowing the truth.

That art we find so intimidating - the Mona Lisa, the Ode to Joy, the statue on the corner, the sculpture in the den - wouldn't be so intimidating if you would just say it's beautiful.  If you would engage it the way the artist envisioned.  I know that if da Vinci stood in the Louvre and listened to the way we analyze his Mona Lisa, he would cringe.  We could stand there for hours talking about this "masterpiece," the elegance of the brushstrokes, the blending of the colors, the appearance of depth in what we know is a two-dimensional creation.  And da Vinci would say, "But what about the woman?"  What about her beauty?  What about the way she has just those little fine lines around her eyes - like you see in the mirror...or the way her teeth aren't all perfectly straight - like yours is a little crooked....the way her hair falls and you can't tell if she's done anything with it or if she just let it be that way?  What about the woman?  He would tell us he painted this not for us to agonize over his artistry...but for us to see the woman in beauty reflected.  And maybe see a bit of ourselves.

Rarely do we, though.  It's because, I think, we're raised with this hands-off approach to creation.  Whether it's something in the flea market, in our own living rooms, or even in our backyards, when we see something beautiful, we think it must be delicate.  And we think we have no right to touch it.  Who among us has not, as a small child, seen something with such mystery and wonder that we wanted only to reach out and experience it...only to have our mother or our father snap their fingers and say, "Uh uh uh...don't touch."?  We learn that when it's beautiful...hands off.

Hands ON.  Let art get in you, but get into art.  Get into creation.  Art is created for you to enjoy.  For you to reach out and touch.  For you to experience.  Get in there and get messy.  Play around.  Look into Mona Lisa's eyes and think about the life she must have known...not the brushstrokes it took to bring her here.  Listen to the Ode to Joy and find every burst of magnificent joy...not every change in the chord progression.  Pick up a book and throw yourself into the story...not onto the cutting floor, picking out every typo or printing error.  Come out to VBS next week and see music, story, art, food, and one insane monstrosity whose art fades into the moment and enhances but is not analyzed.  See how art serves love.

And see how Love creates art.  Watch the clouds float across the sky, the way the moth moves on the back screen door, the way the petals of the rose open amidst the thorns, the way the tree splits off at the trunk and grows up in five sections or the way this section bends toward the greatest light and that one withers in the darkness, the way the cracks in the sidewalk mark the passage of years, the million little things each second that are art but that you don't analyze.  They just get into you and beg you to touch them.

This is art. This is creation.  It isn't hands-off; it's hands-on.  Get in here and be a part of it.  You were created to enjoy it...and it was created for you to enjoy.

And when you've touched it and it's touched you, thank the Artist.  Thank the Creator who created creation, who created creatives, and who created you to enjoy it all.

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