I don’t consider myself an artist, but I am a creative and a lover of beauty. As such, I have a hard time seeing the arts marginalized today. Especially in the school systems and with our children, the arts are pushed aside, defunded, and are slowly disappearing as the cornerstone of a well-rounded education that they once were.
Our family had the opportunity, earlier this summer, to drive across our beautiful country. If you haven’t done an adventure like this, I highly recommend it. One amazing thing about such a trip, is coming face to face with awe-inspiring beauty. There were times I was literally struck speechless (a rarity for me!).
The wonders and beauties of this earth are beyond the scope of human scale. When you walk up onto the Grand Canyon, you can do nothing but stand in awe. In awe of God and all He has created.
He created us – in His image. He could have created us and plunked us down on barren land. But He didn’t. He chose to give us the most beautiful land His perfect imagination could create. In its wonder, it is vast and varying. As you drive across the country, heading towards yet another canyon or vista, you think “surely I’ve seen it all.” And then you get there and realize that, no, you haven’t seen it all. He has a new surprise awaiting you. His artistry has created yet another bit of wonder for you to behold.
And so, this begs the question. When we devalue the arts, do we devalue the divine life in us? When we steer our children towards lofty careers and hefty resumes, when pen and paper call their names, we may be steering them from God. If He felt it so important to create incredible beauty, merely for us to behold and if He made us in His image, then surely He delights in our creations.
Beauty – both creating it and witnessing it – lifts the soul and brings us closer to God. Encouraging children to create beauty, no matter how crude or rough it may seem to us, draws them closer to God and closer to that spark of divine life that is in each of us. Bring children out into nature. Show them the awe-inspiring artwork of Our Creator.
Natural wonders draw crowds of people from all over the world. As we hiked the Grand Canyon, we heard countless accents and languages, we passed hikers of every age and demographic. Yet, when explorers came to the Grand Canyon, many of them declared it desolate and useless. Some were even so bold as to say that none would ever visit this vast nothingness. And yet today, it sees millions of visitors each year.
Why? Why do people travel hundreds of miles simply to experience a beauty that offers nothing of monetary value? Because we all have an intrinsic love for and need of beauty. We need beauty – God – to fulfill our human-ness. Nature is God’s art. And whether we are acutely aware or not, we have a deep desire for His art, His beauty, His creation.