they said, “I love your paintings. It almost seems like they mean something…”
I said "yes, there is a whole kaleidoscope of life hidden in the layers of paint I've laid down."
let us take a moment to define "life", shall we? It's the hurting and the healing and the coming into belovedness that results. It's the ache of pushing back and feeling lost and being broken and burying failure and the way joy is inevitably born from sorrow and the way hope always rises.
A lot of people wonder how artists make a living.
Here’s the answer : wonder.
We never lose the wonder of God - because it’s just not about the money, it’s about purpose rooted in the wonder of God swimming deep deep deep inside. A trust that all will be made well. In time.
I must do this, I cannot NOT do this.
Here’s what it looks like, my friend. It looks like a daily, hourly, moment by moment prayer and meditation. Like a child, paying attention to the beauty and brokenness we’re all surrounded by. It looks like choosing to open up to the pain that most people habitually push back and down and away. Our world almost demands an ignoring of the pain found in brokenness.
But we are all broken. Aren't we?
We're living in a place where the mystery, the unsolvable riddle of waking each day – is reduced to numbers and figures. We were all intended to feel our ways towards mercy and instead we push it back, we call it irresponsible, we name it worthless, we walk right past it. We walk right past the art.
Because, after all, there is no profit to be found in this mystery.
I call bullshit on this way of world living. (can all my artists raise their hands.) We’re here living the heaven way, facing the pain, lingering there in the feeling of it. The poets are saying, in words you could never find, what it felt like when the sun touched your face the moment after the wild geese started flying.
We are the ones showing you the color of that place where your breath felt unabbreviated, nudging you back to the space of being wholly known.
Come with me, back to the deep root of wonder. In this work, we obediently wake every day, put our knees to the bare studio ground and say to this God of wonder, “this isn’t mine, it’s yours.”
I am not capable. It is just YOU. here and now, offering us healing and wholeness.
That deep breath where you feel God put His hand right where it hurts, the tender space of woundedness... and then He whispers, “trust me, this hurt is for your healing.”
This is for our healing.
This healing is His art.
And then there are the taxes, and the electric bills and then the daily emails asking for the donation
or the free painting
or the discount.
and then that spills messy into the moment,
in the grocery store line, a quiet prayer, an even stiller belief that someone will see, because there’s the work of God moving here, SURELY. – I can wake up tomorrow and put my ear to the heart of God. I can feel Him breathing in the wind of that day and breathe that breath onto a canvas so that maybe and most certainly it will find the eyes of a person who needs that exact expression, like God's hand on their heart – so there can be the healing.
Art is to press into the deep and wide Love of God – to put your ear to His chest and hear heaven beating the anthem of “you are beloved”. It’s turning back towards the morning light of redemption and saying “I will” to the work of obedience.
It’s kneeling, palms opened up, pleading ‘O Lord hear my prayer’. Manna. What I need. For the movement of God in each dawning day, for His hand where it hurts, for the healing of our hearts. It’s tears and an anxious breath and the weight of the world building and building until a knowing of ‘this just simply isn’t mine’ –
I’ll keep walking in this forest that everyone says is black and white. And I’ll keep shouting to us all, “look at that sage green right there and the soft yellow of the morning on his skin and the blue that cuts through your soul when you see it at once.” The black and white will turn into a kaleidoscope and isn’t that wonder full.
And I’ll keep looking to you, reminding you to put your ear to the chest of God, to still yourself into hearing Him breathe, ushering us into a “YES” in this work of wonder.
And I’ll keep paying my taxes.