My wife loves trees. Not surprisingly, I’ve found a new appreciation for that part of nature. I’m a beach person myself, but I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty in what’s outside my window in the morning. I feel sort of like my friend Carly, who loves Autumn so much (and has some beautiful photography to prove it), as I become fascinated by the colors. Earlier this week, I was looking out my living room window, and I noticed this tree that sits just off to the left of my view. The tree was completely and vibrantly yellow, and was backlit by the morning sun, causing the yellow leaves to glow. It occurs to me how carefully that tree was crafted, how gently it was sculpted. Recently I read Coffin’s poem, The Dead Bittern, where he states that “tremendous pains had been expended” on a single animal. I’ve been learning to see the beauty in what God has made.
So, I had an epiphany this week. Just as carefully as he painted and sculpted what surrounds us, even more carefully has He crafted us. I’ve been trying to be intentional about seeing the individuals that I come into contact with in my day to day as the works of art that they are. The epiphany comes into play, though, as I’m continuously trying to reconcile the fact that I’m a counselor in my day job, and that this is so counter intuitive to my creative impulse at first blush. It occurred to me that, if all of these people are the dynamic and living works of art that I’ve discovered them to be (because life is art), with all of their frustrating tendencies and idiosyncratic quirks as signatures, then relating to them is not scientific (as in the way I view counseling), but, in fact, creative and artistic. So, as I relate to people through the day; as I choose the words with which to interact and dialogue with them, or the way I look at them (or whether or not I even look at them) as they pass, I’m engaging in artistic expression. Perhaps that’s the key to this over commercialized concept of community that Believers love to talk about these days.
Bonhoffer said that community just happens, and that its our job as Believers to accept it and work with it as it happens, not to be going around intentionally trying to force it and make it happen. If that’s the case, then I encounter this community every day, and how I engage it is a form of creativity, not scientific inquiry.
And that makes me want to get up in the morning.