For those who would serve the work of creativity – who must, in order to be true to their life’s (or this moment’s) call – there is a wonder in this serving and seeking.
Whether one’s work is with words or mixed media, paint or clay, glass or stone, metal or cloth, threads or tonalities, human movement or drafting, musical instruments or voices, drafting boards or firing ovens, food stuffs or growing things, human interaction/dynamics, the knowledge or wisdom of the ages and ways to educate, or the soul’s own journey – the process of seeing and creating and collaborating is rife with amazement and not-too-few tears. Carnage is done in shaving off what once seemed precious and necessary to an end product, in seeking what is at heart and truest. Materials and words and worlds fall at the feet around the tables where we create, as we chase and name the fleeting glimpses we see sideways and fabricate textures with our media that approximate our visions.
If each of us is “God’s work of art” (says Paul’s epistle), I wonder what truth we express in flesh and sinew.
Is it love, most of all? Are our different textures of temperament and giftedness reflections of the color and variety of goodness? What were the remnants cut away in our creation, to get at the truth that resulted in each of us? Our core is important to the Artist, and is a delight to be treasured in this large Creation’s art show. There we are, displayed next to the Milky Way and the intricacy of a butterfly’s wing.
God’s art in human form is functional too and participates in creating more beauty and spreads the circle ever outward. We are makers too, splashing life and color with our work and selves like spin art at a carnival which ecstatic children whirl and splatter paint everywhere. Thus we continue the efforts begun by God and stamped in the hard drive of our hearts, not entirely knowing what we are about, but recognizing when the art we serve approximates in its process or product more closely some element of who we most are, and what is most true about life-love-work-suffering-joy-the human-the divine-the journey. We often do not know what we set out to name or visually represent, but we know the creating itself is a good and serves.
Our beings and our efforts then are art-in-process. And we have need of a muse, a companion, an inSpiration to carry us. Our art-ing often comes forth from the vulnerable and most sensitive centers where we see and feel and breathe and fear and dance and seek, and we need still points and words and ways that tell us that this ‘hunt’ is ‘worthy of all tears’.
And so I share these well hewn words from Carmelite poet Jessica Powers to hearten those involved in this journey which gives joy and also costs the journeyer. May we know ourselves accompanied, and find our seeking draws us home.
Since the luminous great wings of wonder stirred
over me in the twilight I have known
the Holy Spirit is the Poet’s Bird.
Since in a wilderness I wandered near
a shining stag, this wisdom is my own:
the Holy Spirit is the Hunter’s Deer.
And in the dark in all enchanted lands
I know the Spirit is that Burning Bush
toward which the artist gropes with outstretched hands.
Upon the waters once and then again
I saw the Spirit in a silver rush
rise like the Quarry of the Fisherman.
Yet this I know: no arrows of desire
can wound Him, nor a bright intrepid spear;
He is not seen by any torch of fire,
nor can they find Him who go wandering far;
His habitat is wonderfully near
in each soul’s thicket ‘neath its deepest star.
Let those who seek come home through the vain years
to where the Spirit waits a shining captive.
This is the hunt most worthy of all tears.
Bearing their nets celestial, let them come
and take their Quarry on the fields of rapture
that lie beyond the last gold pendulum.
– Jessica Powers