Make art and give it away. Un-numb a culture.


photograph by Serviam Photographyphotograph by Serviam Photography

 Two weeks ago, invited to a friend’s home to hear a free concert, I sardined myself into a car with friends, laughing, relaxing into myself a little, expectations left with the babysitter of our 3 sons. It’s not exactly Calgon taking me away, but it’s a break, and really, I need a break. How often I imagine myself in some sort of rest on a deserted island away from this computer, or at a quiet, candle-lit table with a four course meal, or on the couch watching Fresh Prince.

Seth’s work schedule is now dark to dark. We join in evening grief for rest. Why is it we’re working like this? How did my blog become a job? Where is our art, his guitar playing, my storytelling? These things float about the front of our minds on our way to the concert, we who consider ourselves good at having visions, because that’s what artists do. They envision and consider revision. They have a way of seeing and then they cast it onto canvas or with the vibrating string. 

In that soul hunt for rest, I wonder what is it that sparks in me when people like Aaron Ivey throw their voices up high and pull it along with poetry about justice and mercy and love? At this House Concert, Aaron Ivey and his band alternated between singing and storytelling about their experiences with extreme poverty, adoption, and God’s great love. It was gorgeous. It was rest, God-at-the-heart rest. This is not to say that it wasn’t work for the band, their practiced, well-written songs, their pleas for our pocket change to save a human’s life. This is not to say that the missionary isn’t the hardest worker of all, uncultured and ill-lingualled on unknown soil.

But at the heart of God – at His very heart – is the poor, the orphan. At His very heart is my rest, there where I meet with Him in worked-out love.

Not there for fame or for money, but rather for Compassion, for Haiti, for Adoption, Aaron and his friends, we all, glowed in God fame. We felt ourselves relax into the real us, the us in a covenant of justice. When our art is purposed for eternity, it becomes the worth while. It feeds people. It feeds us.

It makes me want to ask it again: what is your art? You, muffin maker, are you making that dough feed the poor, somehow? What’s your aim?  

Look at Bush’s (the bass player’s) photography, especially from Ethiopia. Look at Aaron’s wife, blogging away about adoption, and currently, their daughter, Story. Yes, that’s her beautiful name –  like Witness, like Testimony. Look at the Original Artist in them all.

We’re waiting for a lot of things. I think one is to start the process to bring home our Ethiopian daughter, because we love her already, know He’ll be knitting her soon. Afraid of the work to come with so many children and afraid of being stuck at the paperwork equivalent of 6 centimeters, I am reminded by such art, where my help comes from and how I, too, have been grafted in. Check out this brother and the way he and his friends encourage. Think about what it is you plan to do with this “one wild and precious life.”

It has a high jam factor and singability, doesn’t it?

amberhaines
About me

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12 Comments

Boy Crazy (@claritychaos)
Reply November 4, 2009

I can tell you've thinking about this lately - somehow it has been there between your words. Get back to your art. Tell your stories. Do it here if it is fulfilling; if not then step away for a while. It is your space, *your* canvas.

As for your question - I have a day full of art coming my way, topped off with a contemplative writing workshop (ala Natalie Goldberg) tonight. My birthday present (an 8 week session!!). Excellent questions on the aim of our art - something that requires more thought before giving a response. I'm glad you asked.

Megan
Reply November 4, 2009

God must really be wanting me to hear this message. "What will you do with this life you've been given?" It is everywhere I look. A free book in the mail about the despicable living conditions of the orphans in Swaziland, a friend who is opening her home to the most vulnerable among us, a church movement to take back Christmas, and now this post.
I'm listening, Lord, I'm listening.

Katie
Reply November 4, 2009

Amber, this is cool. Aaron is one of the worship leaders at our church and his bass player, Bush, is also on staff - his desk is right next to my husband's desk, who is the graphic designer on staff. We've been praying for Story and Amos to come home for a long time. They canceled the rest of the House tour when Story finally showed up last week! So you were blessed to hear him when you did. :)

I've been reading your blog a couple of years now, and it was fun to read this today.

Your Husband
Reply November 4, 2009

On Pieces, Aaron says "take down all the wall paper and beautify the world." I feel like this is our generation's way of saying "I'd like to buy the world a coke, and keep it company." Except, I like the way Aaron puts it better.

Them-there's my two pennies.

John
Reply November 4, 2009

"When our art is purposed for eternity, it becomes the worth while. It feeds people. It feeds us."

Amen and amen.

brittney
Reply November 4, 2009

I agree with Boy Crazy.

And it's fun to see Katie's comment on here following up your post.

Thanks for always encouraging and asking us to seek.

Kelly
Reply November 5, 2009

A post for you today. You must be eavesdropping at our house...

The Meaning of Being Tired

deidra
Reply November 5, 2009

Great words. Great links. I just kind of got caught up here today. Clicking and reading and thinking and wondering. Thanks.

Amber
Reply November 5, 2009

Boy Crazy, I am convinced you would be one of my bffs if we lived near. I think you get me.

Megan, I'm pumped that you're excited about Christmas Change, too. It's going to be good for all of us.

Katie, WEIRD! Tell your hubby to tell those cool kids that the Haines fam from Arkansas said Hi. We're praying now for Story and Amos as well.

Seth, I'm so glad that you're as goofy as I am.

John. Yes, amen. Let's keep reminding ourselves.

Brittney, I've told you before. Your gift of encouragement is stout. I'm thinking about you and that sweet baby.

Kelly, that is such a good article. I love George Herbert, and I do think his poem is right on. Tired makes me desperate, but in the clinging is the rest.

Deidra, I love it when you come and hang out and ponder. Thank you.

Adventures In Babywearing
Reply November 5, 2009

Wow- I remember early in my blogging years reading Aaron's wife's blog and reading about their adoption!

Steph

Aaron Ivey
Reply November 5, 2009

thanks for writing about this!! and thanks for the kind words. great to meet you and your husband!

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