I'm on the last chapter of Walking on Water, in which Madeleine L'Engle, writer of A Wrinkle in Time fame, reflects upon what it means to be a Christian artist. These two subjects overlap. If we are co-creators with God, as Madeleine suggests, then we must become artists of the everyday.
Some women are artists by profession, getting paid to write poetry, choreograph dance, paint, act, or sing, among many other possibilities. Others are hobby artists or makers of handicrafts, taking joy in quilting, knitting, rug hooking, sewing, and the like. Among those who don't identify as artists per se, there is a general longing to simply lead a more creative life. Women daily work toward beautifying their homes, cooking and baking for their families, and cultivating relationships. They seek out culture, the arts, history, literature, and theater, and endeavor to feed their minds and spirits.
There are infinite ways to be creative. The way one reads a story to a child, serves a meal, applies makeup, puts outfits together, shares her faith, makes love, or plants a garden can all serve to make life deeper and more magical. The challenge is to make the extra effort to pay attention to the details, to add one's own personal flair, to find joy even in the most mundane of tasks. I am learning that it really does make a difference in how I fold a shirt! When we take care of our things well, we value them more, and we magnify our gratitude toward our Creator.
This includes our talents. The cover of my new journal reads, "Your talent is God's gift. What you do with it is your gift back to God." Christian artists create for the glory of God. The work of a Christian artist is incarnational.
It can be tempting, especially when life is difficult and we are exhausted and discouraged, to muddle through each day, hermit ourselves away, and allow our homes to fall apart at the seams. The cleaning and chores seem endless, and in a way, they are. The key is to find the intersection between what we are good at and what we love, and in some cases, to sustain our lives monetarily with our talents.
As I've written before, Marie Kondo assures us that we will find our true purpose once we have tidied our homes and pared down our possessions to only those things which spark joy. I believe that a daily ritual of prayer, scripture reading, and meditation is also necessary. And we must feed ourselves a healthy diet, get enough rest, and exercise daily. I have to ask this of myself if I want to become the person that God has created me to be. I must have self-discipline and be willing to be uncomfortable sometimes. To not have all the answers. To take a breath, close my eyes, and let go. To ask for help. Ask, and it shall be given unto you. Seek, and ye shall find. Knock, and the door will be opened. Alleluliah.