four walls, no walls, you and me.


past, present, future
May 4, 2007, 1:46 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

At Summer’s kind urging, I am writing about (gasp!) Art. Or art, whichever you prefer. Anyway, SumSum made a comment to me about our Senior Sem class and it got me thinking….why do we have such a problem accepting the Power of God?

I am reminded of Art & Tech and one class session in particular when I left in the middle, ran to the bathroom and cried for who knows how long because I was so heartbroken. I can’t even describe that feeling and thinking back to the moment again it still makes me so sad and my heart hurt. The conversation went something like this:

Student: I don’t believe that the power of God can overstep the laws of nature.
Me: How can you say that and call yourself a Christian (or an Artist)?
S: God is powerful but there are laws of nature that are simply infallible and God cannot change that.
M: sits in stunned silence then gets up and leaves because who wants to bawl in a room full of people?

Ok, so maybe that wasn’t the best transcript but it got the point across. This was 2 or 3 years ago. Here I am today, still wrestling with this same question. Badmouth Catholicism all you want, but it has instilled in me an awe of the complete, awesome and mysterious power of God. How dare we have more faith in ourselves than in Him?

I’m preaching to my own choir here, I know. If I were to truly practice what I preach I would be in a convent somewhere right now and not writing this. So what does any of this have to do with art? A whole lot for me.

I hope I don’t wear out the Catholic card, but growing up church was as much a visual experience as it was anything else. The veneration of saints and the presence of their image within the church walls were never confused with the presence of God. Next to my bed there are three icons. One is the Holy Trinity, one is the Theotokos of Vladimir, and the other is the Pantocrator. Seeing these images is the best part of my day. It reminds me to pray, to rely on God, to bear my burdens and sorrow, to keep my heart pure, etc….

It also reminds me that even if I don’t move to a convent tomorrow I can still have that life, to some extent, if I am true to the Call of the Artist. For me, this circles around two things (among many others) that I simply cannot get out of my head. The first comes from the icon painters who painted anonymously and for the glorification of God. Hours and hours of meditation and prayer were spent preparing oneself to put brush to wood, it was not simply an act of painting to these holy men and women. The second comes in the form of Andrey Tarkovsky, who once wrote that art is a longing and search for the Absolute Truth and that all gifts require a sacrifice.

All this being said, I must confess that perhaps the biggest reason why I have done NO ART over the past year is because I am plagued by thoughts of doubt, which leaves me catatonic with fear. These fears speak to the very thing that made me run out of that room and left me heartbroken. My new approach is to be fearless. I will simply strive to be truthful and to give of myself because that is what I love about the people I respect and gladly call Artist.

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