Warm moisture gathers on the soft raised veins of Mama’s hands as she pours a pot of boiling water into the sink. The sky is turning amber and the evening shadows begin to sneak into the window nearby. The entire house smells of sweet basil and a puppy with big brown eyes and a friendly face sits at her feet, licking her ankles as she lists off the things she needs to do. These are my favorite moments—the ones when day and night meet one another in the sky and the house is quiet, warm, and sweet with the sound of my mother’s labor. She begins to talk about teaching Walden to her students. And how our lives should be lived deliberately—how she wishes to live the rest of her life with purpose. I watch her from my normal stoop on the stairs, and I can’t help but think that she looks like a piece of art—her life and love and thoughts. And then I began to wonder what life would be like if we viewed it as a piece of art.
And so, I asked. They answered me and said,
“Perspective would definitely change. I feel like everything we did would be more thought out and purposeful, like strokes on a painting. You don’t have random splashes on color just thrown on there; everything’s calculated and precise. Intentionality would increase for sure and lots of little distractions would thin out or even stop completely.” –Stephanie [Read about how God rocked her world on The World race]
“I think we would respect and treasure each person more because we would know the preciousness and value of the unique art piece in front of us. I imagine we would handle each other with care. In the perspective that there is an Artist who created each “painting” I think at least for myself I’d be looking for what the brush stokes and paintings say about the Artist.” –Tempest Tibet Melvin [She’s serving a year with Mission Year. Read more here!]
You should know that my friends responded to a random 1 AM. Facebook message without asking for any sort of explanation. I think, somehow, this speaks to the type of thinkers and life lovers that they are. And the type of friends they are to me.
So, what if I viewed my life as a canvas and myself as a painter? Am I waking up each morning and randomly throwing some paint splatters on there, or am I painting out a scene intentionally? Moreover, am I treating the life I’ve been given as a true piece of art by a greater artist than myself? I’ve always been taught to be intentional with people–to seek them out. To love them well. To listen and learn and live life with them in intentionally community. But I don’t know if anyone ever asked me if I was living life intentionally. Every word that is uttered from my mouth. Every step of my feet and every movement of my hand–they all come together to form something greater. Something poetic and graceful and, hopefully, good.
I know I want to act justly and love mercy and walk humbly. But what else do I want, and am I being intentional about becoming that person?
I’m sitting here now at The Well coffee house. It’s dark outside, and I can feel an evening October chill come in through the panes of the window. The tree that flamed so red when I pulled into the parking lot can be seen faintly through the reflection in the glass, and I remember the way that my breath was taken away when I noticed that fall was finally upon our city. Around me, I feel the warmth of the light and laughter and conversations. Faintly, I hear the voice of a young man reading from 1 John, and I know for certain that those sitting behind me are creating art.
And man, what an awesome artist we have to learn from.