An Artist’s Prayer

Dear God,

You make, I make.  You make me to make.  What am I to make today?  What are You making today, and what is the plan for how our making?   In every small corner of every large nation, human beings are setting out to take disparate materials and fashion them into a piece of work that has beauty, meaning, aesthetic unity, and the power to impact and change those who encounter that piece of work. (Though the specifics of the impact and the change hoped for vary wildly.)   Here I sit in my small corner of my large nation, setting out to do the same.

I assume You are intimately aware of the nuance of my thought-life and my feeling-life, of my history and proclivities, of my talents and hang-ups, and You have a perspective on who and what I am that is beyond anything I can grasp.  Yet I am stuck in my perspective; my neural circuitry is what it is, my capacities not unlimited, and it simply isn’t true that I can do anything I set my mind to.   The clock is ticking on this earth-side life of mine, and the sun is hurrying over my head even as I type.  I glance over my art-making, and decisions sit there, staring back at me, demanding (with a certain ferocity) to be made, and made now.  Writing is different than planning to write.   Acting is different that exploring acting.   Dancing is different than vowing to dance.

Lord, I control nothing.   “The wind blows where it wills…”  My making today will not be enough to combat the enormity of things.   The streams of information, experience, and aspiration that feed a human’s creative work (and by “a human” I mean me) are overwhelming and vast, and to wrestle the elements into a form that contains coherence, beauty, and inspiration may not be as back-breaking as digging in coal mines, but it sure seems that way.   When I ask You to guide me, it seems I am asking You to help me find just what illusions I can live with, because the truth of the human condition seems more than any of us can bear.

And immediately from Your end of the conversation comes a simple, “Stop it.”  By that, I take it you mean the whining.   I can see in Your eyes that decisions must be made, action must be taken, and writing and dancing is to commence now, not later.   The word that seems to be hovering in the air between us is “trust.”    Just trust and move into action, do the work, obey.

It is a given that I will not grasp it all.  You remind me that that is the very nature of the finite.  Maybe I didn’t exactly sign up for it, but it’s the game, and I’ve got no real choice but to play.   So even as I sweat these words out here, I’m telling you again that I am indeed getting on with it, knowing that I’ve asked You a thousand thousand times to guide me already, and I can tell by the look you’re giving me that You agreed (read “promised”)  a long time ago to do just that.   It’s not that You’re tired of this conversation, but I can tell there are some other things You’d sort of like us to discuss.

Like the actual work You’re hoping I get around to.

Today.

Okay, I’m listening.

Oh…You’ll talk to me while I work?

Got it.

What’s that?  Don’t bother with the amen business?   Okay, I’d just as soon keep the conversation open myself.

Hey, sorry about all that over-intellectualizing at the front end of the prayer.  I was just–what?  You’re used to it.  Just how you made me?   Good to know.

Oh, yeah, sorry…the work.

Let me get my notes…

2 Comments

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  1. How do you know the difference between artistic desire and artistic torment? It seems one and the same some days.

  2. Love, love, love this prayer. It hit me where I live! And was just right for me this morning. Thanks for having the courage to share your walk with divinity as part of your artistic path. Blessings to you. Btw, I’m copying part of this prayer onto a card to keep at my desk. Love it.

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