Thursday, February 16, 2017

Creativity and Suffering in the Artistic Life

Words for a artist friend who is going through a difficult time, and who is also a Christian:

Your wonderful creativity is born out of the peculiar attention and vivid sensitivity of your experience of reality, your rich inner vitality, and your desire to communicate in concrete ways. You have an intensity of soul that cannot be kept inside you; it is the energy that pushes you to make your art, which is one key facet of the whole impetus of your life.

You live this way by nature, temperament, and the particular talents you have cultivated, but especially by the gift of grace--the charism--by which the Holy Spirit lives in you and suffuses your being and activity with his presence and life. He sustains your humanity and your dedication to your art and gives it the form of a mission.

The Spirit works through all your human engagement, commitment, and effort. But his power is most manifest in the places where you experience the greatest fragility, incomprehension, and sense of helplessness.

That is what will enable you to carry on even in the midst of suffering, and to remain with hope in front of even the most desperate circumstances.

The poetic intuition born in you--it grows deeper in suffering. Seeing and feeling deeply means more pain in life, I know. Give yourself from that depth, in your art, in your writing, above all in love (as Jesus did) and you will do beautiful things and the Lord will use you to open the hearts of others.

Your mission, in Christ, is a mystery that he alone understands.

And it is good that you allow us, your friends, to see you as you are, in all your dedication and limits and sorrows. Thank you for being totally yourself in front of us. Jesus is working through all of this in powerful ways, in our hearts, in ways we may never recognize in this life. But his work remains real and essential for you and for us. Just hang onto him and trust him, and keep being yourself, in grief, in hope, in joy, in work and the new things that open up in your life, in silliness, in times of "I-can't-take-it-anymore," being broken, wounded, consoled, the whole of it.

God is at work through it all. He is working his Divine art, fashioning a wonder of beauty through your weakness. It is the radiance of the love that endures all things, the love that never ends.