I saw the movie ‘La La Land’ a few weeks ago and I was overwhelmed by the sweeping beauty of it all. The score, the singing, the dancing, the story … it moved me to tears. Overwhelmed truly is the best word I could use to describe how I felt upon leaving the packed theater.
Since then, I’ve been pondering: what is it about art that holds such powerful sway over even the hardest of hearts? Why is it that classical music can make you feel emotion so intensely that you lose yourself in a composition? And why is it, that in the next moment you can feel yourself transformed into an entirely different person while moving to the newest Arcade Fire single? Why do certain written words leap off of pages at you and make you feel alive again? How is it that a painting can steal your breath away? Why did I spend years in awe of the way clouds danced across the sky and trees stretched their distinct arms toward the heavens? And why, oh why, do I feel this restlessness in my spirit to contribute to the art that surrounds me daily?
Art is beauty. And in this broken world, we are constantly looking for the beauty amongst the decay. If only for a moment, we long to forget the atrocities that surround us. We long for the feeling of having our spirits lifted.
But if that was all art was, a beautiful distraction, why is it not enough for us to simply observe? Why is there a longing to contribute in our own way to the canvas that life has provided each of us? Could it possibly have something to do with the fact that we were created by the original artist?
The past few months I have been reading about the different personalities that exist and about the different kinds of happiness that people feel. And while it is clear that God has formed each of us uniquely, there are certain longings that I believe are built into each of us. Furthermore, I feel these things can be summed up most succinctly in this way: we have God in our very DNA (see Genesis 1:27).
Take a moment to ponder that and what it means for you. You possess in you something much greater than you could ever imagine. His heart. His longings. His creativity. Why, then, should it surprise me when I feel tears streaming down my face after I have been in the presence of great art or that I continually long to express my artist’s heart in new ways?
God is the ultimate creator. He made elephants and ants (not to mention the gorgeous birds-of-paradise, the awe-inspiring killer whales and the impossibly graceful giraffes). He decided how crashing waves would sound and how the falling of rain would feel on our skin. He distinctly created the shape of Umbrella Thorn trees and cacti. He created the human tongue that can taste at least six tastes (check out this crazy article on how after all these years, scientists still can’t agree on how many tastes the tongue can detect). He created the human brain with such great complexity that humans have the ability to grow, learn and create.
If that short list isn’t proof that God is creative, I don’t know what is, but the point I’m trying to make is this: we were made by an infinitely creative artist and therefore, we were made to enjoy, dare I even say, revel in, the wonder and beauty of art, as well as make our own contributions.
So what is it that you feel called to? Do you have a gift for photography or violin or for designing gardens? Have you been curious about painting or writing but been too scared to try? Do it. Trust in the one who made you. Believe that His DNA is inside of you and be challenged to think outside of your safe boundaries. You won’t regret it.
Live beautifully. Live fully. Live as if you were created by the ultimate artist, because you were.