There's nothing I love more than reading a good essay on the boat to work...no, really. There's actually one I can't put down. Oh the joys of being able to read what I want, when I want! I'm textbook free, 3 weeks. But seriously I found THE perfect book to read for this project. Naturally it's by John Piper (one of my fave authors.) He's really good at writing a lot of words about a lot of important things. I was searching the Kindle store for something to buy for my ipad and what do you know, Piper has a book called "Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully".
Well. I had to have it, didn't I? The subtitle is something about the power of "poetic effort" in the lives of three incredibly influential men (orator, poet, author). The name that grabbed me was C.S. Lewis, another one of my fave authors. Oh yes, his words often speak to my soul. I definitely need to see what this book is about. The first couple pages were everything I had hoped for, and I'll tell you why.
One question I've had from the beginning of this project is "Does what I do really matter to God?" or, "Is there worth in pursuing art?" Obviously I'm quite passionate about my craft, seeing as I spent four years staying up nights stabbing my hands with exacto knives and bandaging them with leftover mac-tac and I just lauched a career in design...but there are a lot of times I look at other people's lives and wonder how design could possibly have equal weight in God's eyes compared to other pursuits.
I feel like doctors are always used comparatively so I won't do that. Let's say I'm up next to a...successful business person. If they are a good steward of what The Lord gives them, they can contribute large amounts to furthering the Kingdom. Money is completely necessary to fund the gospel going forth. As a designer, I might never make a whole lot. What I have to offer is time and talent. People will say, and have said to me, that design makes a difference! It makes things more effective, more impactful.
But at the end of the day, people exist with crappy design (or none at all), and they're fine. There are people in Africa without access even to computers who find Jesus. I'm not needed.
I know, you say, I am too needed. Thanks. I've been reassured by people my whole life. But see, that's not why I started this project, to start listening to what people say. I'm in this to find out what God thinks.
Obviously God thinks I'm important, and He cares about what I do. Of course I've prayed about what field to go into, and how I can use design for His glory and not mine. And obviously I've found enough evidence to believe I can safely go into design and call it following God's will for my life.
I just want facts. I want proof. I want to see for myself that art and design and pretty things can have worth and aren't just superfluous crap that God says can improve things a little bit but really, it's the people doing the dirty work that lead more meaningful lives and nobody really cares if something is kerned right. It's all just pixels and noise....signifying nothing.
Yet I remember how I discovered that God actually can and will do beyond what I think or imagine. Imagining that my imagination is too small...yeah. Trying to fathom. I know there's a plan here.
So back to that book I had started talking about. The very, very first chapter starts breaking down why expressing things in words beautifully is very important and meaningful...why it is Biblical. And because poetry is an art form, the words on those pages led me to verses and conclusions about design, which is just another art form.
I'm still avidly reading, so I'll sum up some of the best things I find another day. But you know what I'm realizing more and more all the time? Average, normal people can search the scriptures and find answers. You don't have to be Piper to do it, you just have to be committed to looking. Sometimes it's like going to Target where everything is easy to find and glorious and sometimes it's like going to Walmart. But no matter what, look.
If you've ever felt like what you're passionate about just isn't great or meaningful enough...I'd love to know. I keep saying this road is meant for more than one person. I hope you're looking for answers. It's probably clear I don't have them all, but I keep digging up new treasures every day as I press on.