It’s finally, finally autumn, and my heart is really happy about it

These past few months have been a lot. More than I know what to do with. In both wonderful and difficult ways.

But there’s something valuable about sharing our experiences, about letting them out and offering them to the world instead of keeping them inside of you. Maybe it doesn’t really matter if anyone actually reads them; maybe it’s just about the release.

Here are a just few of the most memorable scenes, a few fistfuls of the thoughts I’ve been mulling over lately:

In August my grandmother passed away, and her funeral was absolutely beautiful, and tender, and honored her life in a very special way. There’s no appropriate way to grieve, no right way to try to comprehend death: it’s all very messy and heart-breaking. You don’t know what to do with your hands, your mouth, your gaze.

Grandma Jo, you should have seen how many people were laughing over fond memories of you, and smiling about you, and missing you deep deep deep in their bones that day. I miss you so much, and am so proud to be your granddaughter.

Magical evenings in Setzuan.

And I’m beginnning to form solid, important ideas about community art. I’m starting to honestly believe that individual sickness is not isolated from the sickness of our world. That maybe instead of trying to fix ourselves we should be working towards mending our society, and it is from those efforts that we experience individual healing.

I’m learning to gently but firmly tear down the idea that art is an elitist privilege. I think art needs to be a messy, collective sigh coming from multiple people all at the same time, and that we need to be talking to each other, creating together, compromising our individual artistic visions for the sake of something bigger, better, and, frankly, more important.

I’m studying community art because creating community is difficult, because my natural tendency is to lean away from community and into individualism. Creating art can be a disposal of excess internal energy, it helps us express what can be difficult to put into words, it’s a way to celebrate the good and lament the pain. It makes us more human.

I don’t just want to make pretty art. I want to make art that speaks the truth about who God is, who Jesus is, who the Holy Spirit is.

I always seem to come back to the ocean and the forest to find God. I feel Him in the gritiness of sand and softness of dirt, while creating and making and using my hands. A few weeks ago I ran through a full-on thunder and lightning storm back to my apartment. The rain was so thick I could barely see. And I felt Him in that, in the frigid coldness, in the wind, in my fragility and smallness.

The more I read the Word, the more I pray with others, the more I seek to have an open heart and listen intently to Him, the more calmer, the more human I feel.

More thoughts soon.

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