"For a good life, knowing must become doing. Human flourishing requires that knowledge has to become responsibility. But not for mere duty's sake, though that is not nothing; eventually duty has to become desire. We have to see ourselves as implicated in the way the world turns out, for love's sake." Steven Garber, board member of InSpero, in his book Visions of Vocation.
We spent last weekend in the desert with family celebrating some good things. The trip was a much needed break for me as there has been a lot swirling back here at home.
Ultimately the extremes in the desert and the need for water and relief reminded me how I long for glimpses of something beautiful in this life.
I do love the desert light.
As long as I can remember, I've loved and been taught to care about beauty. I'm a painter, but the longer I live I feel that my gift might be equally in seeing and bringing dignity and value to the beauty other people bring to this life: especially those artists, songwriters, makers, visionaries, and risk-takers who are bringing glimpses of beauty that remind us there's a better day coming.
Those glimpse of hope help my heart hold on in this broken world.
I've found how much I need you. How much I want to fight for you. How much I want to champion your process and want to know your story. How much you matter. I want you to know the risk is worth it, both for me and also for those all around us who long for beauty.
"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." Pablo Picasso
I'm drawn to beauty because my own soul desperately needs to drink in reminders of the goodness of God.
In recent years I've come to see my personal deep need to be near beauty and to fight for the hearts of those who create it, a side of me you may not know.
This passion/calling consumes me at times. Maybe this "gift" is selfish, but I believe God cares deeply for the creative heart. This is the lens through which I see and process as I think about life and hope and restoration.
The question is: "HOW DO I GIVE THIS GIFT AWAY?"
The answer seems to be InSpero.org
Beauty heals. Beauty stirs hope.
I'm not naive enough to think that other people view life this way. Over the last few years I've learned the hard way that it is painful but okay to be misunderstood. It is painful but okay to fight for something other people don't value or even see. It is painful but okay to look foolish, especially for love's sake.
As we waited in the airport for our return flight, there was a man playing the most beautiful music. I was drawn to him and settled in on the floor near him with our kids: drinking in the complex melodies and allowing my heart and soul to be nurtured by the music of a stranger.
(Thank you strange guitar man!)
As I savored his music, I was receiving texts from a friend walking in deep darkness. My heart was simultaneously breaking and being healed.
Such as it is most days: brokenness and beauty at work at the same time. Never separated.
I have this vision that beauty is going to be a part of the healing of my soul, but there is also a bigger story.
I BELIEVE BEAUTY IS PART OF THE HEALING OF THE SOUL OF BIRMINGHAM.
The best way I know to give this gift away is to invite you to be a part of the vision and story of InSpero. We need you. Join us at our birthday party on September 17 at The Nest in Avondale and hear more of our vision. Fun libations. Food by Kristen Farmer Hall and Aaron Conrad. Art by Arthur Price, Adorned Floral and Charity Ponter. Music by Deidra Hurdle-Ruff (the Blues Diva) and Keithen Ruff. Funky Birmingham posters by Abby Little to those who donate $100 or more.
"They'll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They'll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new." Isaiah 61:4 The Message
"People who keep at their callings for a lifetime are always people who suffer. The world is too hard and life is too broken for it to be otherwise." Steven Garber
Mark your calendars for October 23. We cannot wait! (Location change will be announced soon!)
To give a donation to InSpero, come to our birthday party or mail check made to InSpero Inc. to 246 Marwood Drive, Birmingham, AL 35244.
It was at Rivendell the hobbits think through the vocation they have been given, carefully working out the who and what and where of the odyssey that will be theirs. But integral to all that they were, and to all that they would need to be, was the table at Rivendell, a place for the best conversations and the best food and the best drink — simply said, a wonder of wonders." Steve Garber
The never-ending hope of Easter, Writer Andrew Shaughnessy shares reflections on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and why hope and beauty matter. "We hope because we know a day is coming when, to paraphrase Sam in The Lord of the Rings, “everything sad will come untrue,” when our Creator King will dry every tear and bind up the broken hearts and restore the sundered cities and turn the world upside down."