I have not written much of anything for a while. I have been lost in the fog of family illnesses and my son departing for college. I think I have been hibernating, but my heart and my brain started to wake up this week.
I have ideas popping again – song lyrics, book themes, photo shoots I want to plan. But I stopped myself yesterday and wondered why in the heck I do these things – write the words and melodies, snap the pictures. I don’t make a dime. It takes loads of time. And yet… I think it might be what I am called to do.
For any of you who have read my blog, it will come as no surprise that I found my answer in a Frederick Buechner book. There are 2 new Buechner books out – 2 books!! – I could hardly contain my excitement pouring over new words from him yesterday. I am about to finish the first of the 2 called The Remarkable Ordinary. The second is called A Crazy, Holy Grace: The Healing Power of Pain and Memory. It’s next – I’ll keep you posted.
I have always felt a deep connection to Buechner’s writing, as if he gives words to the thoughts that swim right between my dreams and my waking – things that drive to the very core of me but I can’t quite explain. And then he just writes it – or even better, he shows it to me in one of his stories. Few characters have influenced me the way his have.
Back to yesterday: here I am, in my little existential crisis about the meaning of my work, and I open a new Buechner book and he is writing about ART. Of all the things! Here is one of my favorite quotes:
“So, art is saying Stop. It helps us to stop by putting a frame around something and makes us see it in a way we would never have seen it under the normal circumstances of living, as so many of us do, on sort of automatic pilot, going through the world without really seeing much of anything.”
And there it is. That is why I write this post, why I get up before dawn and ignore mosquitos or heat or cold to take my photos, why I spend hours trying to get a melody just right. First, it is for me. It is my way of telling my heart, “STOP! Look at this. Really look at this.”
Then I share some of these things with you so that you might say to yourself, “STOP! Would you look at that? What a wonder!” And I don’t mean I want you to look at my photo of the moon and say, “STOP! Look at my friend’s post. She is a great photographer.” What I’m really hoping for is that you will see the mind-blowing marvel that any human being got to stand where I stood and see such a site, and, “Oh my gosh, I can do that, too!”
My hope is that next time you see the moon, you stop and realize that no one who has ever lived or who ever will live is standing in the exact spot as you, at that exact time, with the specific memories and emotions and dreams you bring to that exact moment. That moment is a gift from the entire universe, from the Creator himself in my opinion, for you and you alone. Now tell me that doesn’t put this broken world into perspective for just a minute
So art – art spawned from a heart of wonder – is framing miracle moments- an image, a sentence, a note – that calls on all of us to slow the heck down and pay attention. And if I can influence just a handful of people and deepen their desire to find their own such moments, I am contributing to the very work of creation – I am bringing wonder and love, grace and peace in a way only I can bring them
And you and I are also works of art. As we pay attention to the world’s wonders, we begin to see each other through new lenses. More from Buechner:
“So we are to see each other like that, as Jesus sees us, framed as if each one of our faces is seen by him.”
May you all find your own unique moments of wonder this week, and may we all see each other – and ourselves – as the spectacular works of art that we are!