Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Zen of Seeing

I know artists whose medium is life itself and who express the inexpressible without brush, pencil, chisel or guitar. They neither paint nor dance. Their medium is Being. Whatever their hand touches has increased life…. They are the artists of being alive.

Frederick Franck, The Zen of Seeing

I, personally, have a deep longing to bring a little piece of God into this world. I try to string a few words together, sometimes I take some photos, put color on paper, sing, or dance. But, my truest call is to this Art of Being. To offer some kindness, compassion, a little understanding.

To be a little spark of God in this world, this is my prayer.

A man named Bob is a part of my faith community, one of the founders of our church 45 years ago. Any time he is at the church, he makes it his business to welcome every single person that comes in that door. (We are a large church for our denomination and the building is very busy with many different groups using it.) Our congregation, from its inception, has been a welcoming and inclusive place and currently, it is really a grace filled place where people are loving and giving. It is my belief that Bob was absolutely foundational in setting that Christ-like tone for us. He is a beautiful example of an artist of Being.

This weekend of Thanksgiving (for those of us in the U.S.) is a wonderful time to remember the people in your life who are the artists of life. Remember to give thanks for them and even to tell them how much you appreciate them being in your life. And don’t forget to share the story with me! I would love to hear it.


Macrina said...

Ah, I would like to be an artist of BEING ALIVE... and sometimes I am.

Just saw Beth off...wonderful visit. she will be bringing you a tiny surprise from me. And no, it is not a sycamore leaf.

Anonymous said...

I miss Bob and his hand shakin.....

The Pollinatrix said...

It's funny, because the Artist of Being that first comes to mind for me is also a greeter - but at Wal~Mart, not church. Her name is Anita, and I met her when I was working at the Subway inside Wal~Mart. She would come on her break and get oatmeal cookies and coffee from me and we'd talk.

She saved my butt a couple of times too - brought me home when I didn't have a ride, and even let me borrow her car once when I locked my keys out of mine. She also babysat for me one day when I had no other option and had to be at work.

She's in her seventies but looks and acts younger, even though she is constantly accompanied by an oxygen tank. She's tiny and round and feisty and straightforward and genuinely friendly. She doesn't put up with nonsense and will tell you exactly what she thinks. There are always people standing in conversation with her at her post by the entrance.

She's one of those people that was mysteriously familiar to me right from the get-go, and feels like family to me, even though we don't know each other that well.

Thanks for making me think of her. I've wanted to do something nice for her for a while, and this is making me get to the point where I'll actually get off my butt and do it. (And the verification word is "undone.")

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tess said...

Yes, artists of being are artists above all others. There was an old-fashioned English novelist called Elizabeth Goudge, who died around 1970ish. The characters in her books abound in this type of grace.

Barbara said...

Artist of being reminds me of a quote I saw once. It was from Thomas Merton: The saint preaches sermons by the way he walks and the way he stands, the way he picks things up and holds them in his hands. Not necessarily a "he", but this was written in the darker ages. ;)

I would love to be such an artist of being. On a global scale, I would say the Dalai Lama is one such artist. Closer at hand, I recall my late friend, Bonnie, who died of ALS. She made the moments she had remaining in life other-centred and precious.

Rebecca Johnson said...

I feel very sure that someone in your lives sees each one of you as the artist of being that you see in others. I know that I do. Your thoughts and your words help me so much in my own efforts at such art. I love that Macrina recognizes that sometimes she is the artist that she would love to be and I hope that all of you will be able to see it about yourselves as well.

Macrina, I am SO EXCITED about my surprise!! Even if it isn't a sycamore leaf. : )

Nichol, And I miss you!!

Polli, Thanks for sharing Anita with all of us. She sounds BEAUTIFUL!

Tess, I am going to check for those books at our library. I haven't yet told you that I am a complete anglophile when it comes to literature. : )

Barbara, What a beautiful quote. It makes me want to be aware of my hands today, of all of the things that I touch and hold. (How DO you always come up with such perfect quotes and readings?)


Beth Knight said...

Rebecca - you so poignantly express what is happening for me these days. Words fail me and I wonder where did the writer in me go? But BEING me is so authentic, vibrant and expressing that I have to trust for this season it is how I am to BE instead of writing. Other seasons have come and gone when I would write, or not, so I have to trust this season and honor it. Bless you dear Rebecca - you are such a gift of BEING to us all.