I've been reading a book that is summarizing my journey these past couple of years. It's like the footnotes version to my life of learning, discovery, and freedom. It's been a refreshing read and at many points a good reminder. It's called, "The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion," by Elle Luna.
Today I read a line that gripped me as gospel truth: "We each have unique potential given to us at birth, but whether or not we cultivate it is entirely up to us. In its purest sense, Must is why we are here to begin with, and choosing it is the journey of our lives."
We are each given a divine gift to give the world, but it takes work to uncover it from the sin and muck of our worlds and families. And as we give it, we inspire others to do the same. It's what Jesus did. He had a gift, cultivated it, and gave himself so we could be free to do the same for ourselves and others. The ripple expands. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.
While scraping and peeling and rubbing away the paper backing of my current photo-transfer piece I learned two things:
First, art isn't always smooth or fluid or a lovely process. Sometimes creating art requires power tools, or knives. As I worked I realized I had carried this preconception with me that making beautiful things would be an equally beautiful process. It is often not so. I set the image down, seal it, dry it, wet it, scrape, scrape, scrape; then I sand it down again with a rag before adding more acrylic paint and giving it a final seal. I think we're a bit (a lot) like this.
Our souls are raw materials needing shaping and guiding and forming. Sometimes the process requires painful decisions, difficult relationships, or heartbreak. Jesus knew this. Moreover I don't think he was all that surprised by it. His disciples were though, when he started talking about what he would walk through and go through for them. They were all "No way! You're gonna be famous," And he was all, "Actually, I gotta do this impossible thing." (New Christine Lee Smith Translation). And he did.
Second, don't put your open drink cup too close to your brush rinsing cup.
While I was finishing my artist residency at Elsewhere Studios last month, I had the opportunity to do a trade of service with another local artist. The ever amazing Paul came over and taught me how to draw; I gave him headshots in exchange. It was one of those beautiful moments of living in a share economy and it was lovely. Apparently he's also sending me a "jar of Paonia" too because he likes his photos so much (I think that means a jar of home-preserved apricots). Here are a few of my favorites. Which do you like best?