Thursday, July 30, 2015

Intersect: Now. Art and Faith

It is interesting to me where the water flows in a life. Or decisions, the manner of viewing and deciding. What form of person individuals become, choosing this or that, or having been chosen by nature/nurture, by a force higher/lower than nature.

I am interested in this pattern where one lives, produces this or that, then dies. Such behavior is not exclusive to anyone. We are judged saviors or fools by those we likewise assess according to aspects of their effect.

My method concerning form is, by this time, something other than a means or end. It is the thing I breathe into. Like my belief in God, I was born for this and in this I will die. It has been paintings and poems. It is now more often prayers and service. I am not one to distinguish without discernment.

It never gets old, does it. Watching people and wondering. Hemingway did this, and Proust. The Lord did this, though with the disarming habit of knowing the person before or in the moment of speaking with them. I recall in particular Matthew (the tax collector) and the Samaritan woman at the well. So, we say God knows us like this. As we are. And loves us as we are. I say this with respect to my life and my work. I often know it as I encounter it, or before. And I am not surprised in light of the injunction to love others as myself. I read "love" as "know."

The task is the goal: pure empathy.

Is this factored by age? I guess. It is certainly factored by living. Hard. And by the belief that naught is for aught. Early on I perceived that end results might serve a purpose not one's own. Thank you, Richard Nixon.

God bless you, Dr. Martin Luther King. God bless you, Robert Kennedy.

I tip my hand. Born in 1959 I was witness to the best and brightest shot down by hate. And I wept, a ten-year old in Atlanta, Georgia. That I grew up in a family that eschewed religion will surprise no one of my generation. That I should eventually come to the Catholic Church should surprise even less.

This posting is about art and God, I guess. If asked, I would say I hope I have not abandoned my youthful belief in Great Things - for poetry, art, life. And religion. I think that my friends must wonder sometimes, for I have accomplished nothing "great" in the arts. My life appears to be very conventional, with family and career and church.

I do not routinely rage against the dying of the light. Not in public anyway. In fact, I rather pity the sentiment.

Rage? Me? Why?

As an artist, I look around and am simply delighted at the activity, and exploring, and inclusiveness, and sheer quality and diversity of work. I do not think poetry and art has ever been better served than it is right now. Add music to that portfolio while we are at it.

And, as a Catholic, I know that when I die I will fall into the arms of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to do with me what He will. And I'm okay with that.

So, what would you think about me if I complained? Fighting for the rights of self-hood is the prerogative of the young (and the under-privileged/under-represented), who need to fight to claim the truth of their time! No one profits by a middle-aged white man complaining, either about art, culture, or religion. May my peers take note!

But maybe I am weak. Perhaps I should rage, as Dylan Thomas suggested. I will take that charge to heaven too, along with all the others, both what I have done and what I failed to do. I make that choice though, ultimately, the water may flow one way rather than the other.

No comments: