I met an artist recently who was presenting his work. Bold strikes against the canvas. Strokes of color that fly against vivid backdrops and each color evoking a story. And another. And another. The artist spoke of muses. Inspirations from his vision of the world. How an abstract image is what we see but his eyes saw order in the riot. Amazing. Fabulous. And educational.
Then he told me of how he spoke with another creator of art. And he learned two things:
When you make it, know when to stop.
When you put it out there, be satisfied with it.
That got me to thinking, I said to him. That when we create something, that something should be satisfying. Of course not everything we do is satisfying or awe inspiring. In fact some things we make are downright embarrassing. But if we really care about it. Really care how it is seen by others. Truly are concerned that what we’ve made is the best we could make. Then we should also care enough to be sure that what we make is at least satisfying to us.
Art is nothing less than a precious child to an artist. He or she is always on edge hoping that those who experience it are as happy with it as the artist is. “Art,” he said, “continues to speak for the artist..” Long after the artist is dead and gone. The art continues to speak.” The child has it’s own voice. Speak child, speak. I felt a moment of truth there. Oprah calls it an aha moment. I said to myself “Aha!” But to the artist I simply said,”..That’ll preach.” And he smiled.
I believe that what we create speaks for us after we are dead and gone. I believe that what we create tells a story when it’s creator is no longer capable of telling that story. I feel that it is even more important than I initially realized that what we do and say and build and create and love and are stewards of; we must be satisfied with it. What ever it is. It must at least be satisfying.
Recall the movie “Babe”. Farmer Hoggett spared Babes life and raised him. Farmer Hoggett was not one to heap praise upon anyone or anything. He was not one to walk about smiling all the time about random things. But when he saw Babe do his very best and it was enough he said very simply
“.. That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do,” and when he said that, Babe knew then that his loving ‘father’ was pleased. But more accurately to his demeanor, Hoggett was satisfied.
When I think back on all the things I’ve done in my own life. The many things I’ve created and the things I deconstructed. The things I’ve loved and the things that I’ve turned away from. The relationships I’ve built and the ones I couldn’t maintain. I look back on all those and question, am I satisfied?
By and large I am.
As a man of faith I also wonder if God is satisfied with what He created. If He ever thinks, “… Man. If I could do this all over again….” I know God reconsidered everything. Hence the flood. But realizing the terrible choice made, He promised never to do that again on such a grand scale. And not again with water. But that in no way suggests that He doesn’t still wonder if his creations are in any real way speaking for Him? Are we saying things that He is satisfied with?
I wonder if I’m doing enough to satisfactory to Him?
If an artists work is hoped to speak for him. If The Creators work is to speak for Him, am I saying anything of worth? Anything that gives honor and does even a modicum of justice? I hope so.