I wanted to be an artist.

I thought the definition of Artist was "one who paints pretty pictures."

& somewhere in that definition, I was sure was the stipulation that the art had to be quick & effortless.

It wasn't supposed to be something you learned, but something you created ... You were full of art, & therefore, you simply made art.

As I grew older, I saw that there was more to art than paintbrushes.

I even admitted that there was art within me.

But I failed to notice what had happened to me ... I became art-oriented.

This is something I'm only now discovering, & I don't fully understand it, nor its connotations. (by the way, I looked "connotations" up, to make sure the full definition was what I wanted to express here {I love looking up words I thought I knew & discovering new depths to them}, & I was thoroughly satisfied with the result. A definitively pleasing definition to read. Add looking it up to today's to-do list. My use of it here implies the philosophical definition.)

So, here is what I am learning about myself: When I appreciate something, I appreciate it based on my perception of its artistic value.

I am very open in my love for art. I will sometimes swoon over a telephone pole when I discover some semblance of art behind it.

I do this with people. I could spend hours listening to a particular voice. Or watching the way they act around children. The way they respect others. The sparkle that comes into their eyes when they get passionate about something. People are artists, as well as artwork, & I am drawn to those, especially, that create art out of their everyday. Those who make dinner like the spoon is their paintbrush. Those who make listening & understanding you their art. Those who take walks, just to walk.

I see art in everything, & I try to make art out of everything.

I have always had this thing about atmospheres. The undercurrent of certain places. Some places can haunt & repel me until I discover art within them. If it is all order & no warmth, I want to curl up & die.

I hate when I have to give up coffee, not just because the flavor is wonderful, but because I find something aesthetic in the making & drinking of it.

Same goes for tea. If it is made with microwave-heated water & a packaged teabag, it is a mere beverage, & not art. If I can put it into a pretty mug & sip it slowly; if something beautiful can be salvaged from the experience, then the cuppa might be redeemed.

I don't mind if there is a mess. I mind if there is only a mess. If my bed is covered with remnants of my day (headphones, apron, novel, pencils, sketchbook, coaster, to-do list, etc.), I do not mind, so long as the mess is arranged in a way that is visually pleasing. Then it becomes an arrangement, & I take a picture. (& then tidy up. Because I'm a clean freak.)

There is beauty & grace in everything, if your eyes are attuned. There are masterful strokes of Christ's hand in every person & in everything ... if  we determine to prove that, how much more joy awaits us?

I guess what I am learning is to become aware of myself, instead of a slave to myself. I could use this orientation of myself to excuse shallowness, snobbishness, & disconnectedness, or I could overcome barriers now that I am aware of them.

Instead of automatically shutting down when in a place that lacks warmth, I could be the one to bring the warmth. I could look more closely, to see the intentional design. To see the beauty that is not just surface-level. Who knows what I could discover?

Instead of avoiding someone who makes me feel small, I could choose to bless them; to see the bigness in them & point it out. To say, "hey, you have a true gift for seeing the bigger picture." Or, "you have a great laugh!" When someone is made aware of the art within them, it lifts them. it bestows value onto them. People who feel valued act accordingly, most times.

Love is always worth the risk.

& in the other places where I find & make art? I can use it to recharge my soul ... & I can do the same for others. I found out this week that a few other people in my circles appreciate the art of a lovingly made cup of tea. Art isn't meant to be hoarded, & the appreciation of art isn't meant to be held back for the ones you deem worthy. Love calls for sacrifice & beckons forward to discovery.

& it's a beautiful thing.

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