Posted by: Viola | March 27, 2015

Faith through art

I am not a religious person. But I feel connected to my spiritual being–or the spiritual facet of my multi-dimensional being. I grew up going to church quite a bit. I no longer do that. In fact, I don’t feel very drawn to attending church services. I also do not feel drawn to membership in a specific religion or church. Instead, I feel lots of awe for what feels most inspiring to me about life–the magical and beautiful things like the smile of a child, the way the clouds move, the sun as it shifts position, the way waves of hair fall out or in, the curve of a person’s fingers as they craft their art or do their work, the words flowing from a conversation, the spark in a person’s eyes when they connect to something meaningful. I am deeply awed by what urges people to create art, to express themselves artistically, lyrically musically, colorfully, physically in so many varied ways. I am awed by the sheer bounty of artistic choices and media in the world.

Being at church during my childhood and adolescence often felt to me like a narrowing or constricting of myself into something or someone finite and controllable and small. Being artistic/artful/creative/inspired by what I can observe and create in the world feels like a broadening and widening of who I am. I am not dogmatic or adamant about the existence of gods or a god. I am not passionate about rituals and religious ceremonies. I feel stifled by too much heavy religious tradition–and stifled by any and all imposed traditions and strict practices, in general. But I am moved and uplifted, in a very spiritual way, by the possibilities that being an artist opens up for me to feel connected too something larger than and beyond myself but also very much within me and fully accessible to me. Now, that feels very much like a god, a being or a source of energy and love and light, both within and beyond me, both larger than me but also bounded by me, distant but close, personal but impersonal.

The sheer power of the presence of something divine which I feel when I write or create art astounds me. This sense of the spiritual side of artistic work leads me to believe that there can be many more ways of “going to church” and “praying” and “being faithful” than traditional religious views might have us believe. I love the notion of making art as a form of meditative or devotional practice. While some choose to go to church and worship in that way, I can opt to spend my Sunday crafting a poem. While some might opt to put their tithes into the collection box at church, I can choose to share my poem with the world, as an offering of my best self, a portion of my own best crop, my most treasured harvest.

Poetry is my labor and it is my love and it is my heart. If I were to offer the best of me to any being, divine or other, it would surely take the form of what is most sweet within me. So poetry is my prayer and my gift, my honorable offering, and when I come bearing gifts, poetry is what I bring. My sacrifices come through poetry. My service to my fellowman comes through poetry. And if there is a god out there, that god cannot be disappointed, because I am a vessel and can only give back the beauty which has been given to me.


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