We all want to be part of something beautiful.
You know what I mean if you’ve ever been a bridesmaid at your best friend’s wedding, the hostess of a surprise party, part of a crazy flash mob in a shopping mall, or among a group of carolers at the local nursing room. It’s that airy, spirit-quickening feeling that brushes you up against something greater than yourself. It’s a sneak-peek at Heaven, a sunrise in your soul, a slide down the arc of the rainbow. It’s like you’re touching noses with God, and all because you let your life spread out onto the God-canvas.
Your life is art, friend. Be painted.
And it’s the simple moments, isn’t it? A moment like standing in a ring of candlelight in your sanctuary on Christmas Eve, with people you love next to you singing, “Silent Night.”
We want to know we’ve helped make the world more beautiful — not just tolerable — but downright exquisite. That’s why we raise a candle, and try to sing past the lump in our Christmas Eve throats, so we can join all those voices straining into the place where Hope incarnated.
Life-art can make you cry the happiest, most grateful tears that might just embarrass your own children. But sometimes, the only proper response to such beauty is a holy weeping.
There’s more. This life-as-art is why we go to great lengths to make a gorgeous apple pie on Thanksgiving, to set a pretty table with the wedding china, to surprise a child on the first day of school with chocolate chips in her pancakes, to be the first one to start the standing ovation at the elementary band concert. It’s why you rush to the window at the first snowfall, stand in awe at the lightning storm, clap your hand over your mouth at the starriest sky.
We were made in God’s image, and we were made to co-create as junior-artists, to excavate beauty in the here-below. And you don’t need a pottery wheel — just one grand life on which to make a masterpiece. And to see the masterpiece — right inside your very own skin.
Sometimes, beauty happens and you don’t even know it.
That’s why I felt that same Christmas-Eve lump rise up in my throat when I opened the mail on Friday afternoon. I slipped my hand into the manila envelope and pulled out a small painting on a little canvas.
I had been painted. No one had ever painted me before. It made me feel beautiful, like I’d been ushered onto a masterpiece. Like someone thought my life was art, and they wanted me to know.
It wasn’t because I wore the right clothes, or had a great hair-day, or had been posed in such a way to make a moment appear more artful than it really was. I had been painted because I was alive. I was part of the manifold witness, while steering a canoe down a jade-colored river in Texas with friends.
And someone standing above us thought we were beautiful. Someone thought we were art, radiant in the palm of God.
Painting by Laura Boggess. Canoe passengers from left to right: me, Kelly Sauer, Dan King the Bible Dude. Take on the Frio River at Laity Lodge. (Thank you Laura for this gift of a beautiful moment, preserved.)
These words offere with love, for Laura Boggess…