As an artist, I have become keenly aware that my mind is seldom at rest. I am not speaking here of the banal functions of occupationally punching the clock, or pre-occupationally surfing my electronics. I am not even referring here to the steady drone of inner dialogue we all have going on inside of our heads — bemused and snarky in reaction, ruminating in real time our emotional state, or perhaps nothing more than the mumbling incoherence of our non-sequitur thoughts. All of these are more like the white noise backdrop of what I speak.
There is a layer further down the rabbit hole where my mind is constantly working the puzzle, turning the tumblers, cracking the code of what it all means just to be here – to exist in the presence of the grand themes of life, playing themselves out perpetually on every scale. Good and evil. Love and hate. Hope and fear. Light and dark. As well as all of their many embedded themes – forgiveness and retribution; innocence and guilt; tenderness and cruelty . . . and so on–too many to even mention here.
These themes seem to show up regularly on my doorstep, and even though they come cloaked in various disguises, they continue to invite me to interpret anew their subtle symmetry – and for whatever reason, my subconscious mind obliges . . . so I pull a thread through all of the disparate pieces that have collected around me — and I begin to create.
To move from text to subtext, from plain sight to behind the curtain, requires a primer for solving such a riddle . . . and my primer is my Christian faith. It offers me context and balance, that I might know simultaneously all of my dark places, as well as the refracted glory of Eden’s light still burning within me. It finds me in my deepest need and infuses the steps of my day with meaning and purpose . . . and at its very center I find relationship.
Because it’s in relationship where God meets me, it is where He speaks my name as if my name were the lyric of a love song so beautiful, that just to hear Him speak it, I am completely undone by its beauty. And in being so overwhelmed, I’m compelled to sing his song everywhere I go, to everyone I meet – making every relationship I’m in sacred.
This is the glimpse of light I receive, more often than not, out of the corner of my eye – but even so, it sets up an abiding longing in me for just a little more . . . so I pursue this light with abandon. I am transfixed by the inscrutable way it teases against the window of my perception, as it dances across the face of darkness, until in the grace of its chiaroscuro, the whole of my understanding of the world is made new by its illumination.
The artist intuitively knows as a practical matter, that in the creation of any composition one must identify its source of light, so as to know where to place the shadows – and what the length of their reach is as they fall. This is why I am always so eager to learn the distance the light is traveling, the way it touches everything in its path, the way it is able to overtake me and move through my life – as it makes its way to another. And this is why if you find me with a faraway look in my eye – it’s more than likely because I’m off somewhere chasing light back to its source.