Sunday, October 18, 2015

Finding Your Place

When I talk about The Way of the Artist, it's easy to see it in terms of the students' work and the teacher's work. Maybe it's a class project the students dream up. Then work on it and share it. Maybe it's the work of art is the lesson or activity that the teacher created.

But on another level, we can look at our very lives as the work of art. Day by day we move closer to a vision of what we could be. We do the work and, hopefully, we share the story.

With any creative work, it is fascinating to me how that initial vision develops in the artist's mind and makes its way into reality. It's more fascinating to see how my life or periods of my life, such as my career or my marriage, emerged from that journey over the slow passing of time.

We set out with a picture in our mind of how our lives will look. We work for it, adjust to frustrations and surprises of what real life hands us and ultimately end up as we are, where we are.

It's worth taking a long look at ourselves from time to time, to see how close or how far we are from the initial vision.

Like almost anyone, when I graduated from high school nearly 30 years ago I had some big dreams. The big ones were to make movies and to play in a rock band. Over the years I moved close to and far from those goals. I even gave up on them more than once, but I or they would eventually circle back again.

It was amazing to me last year when I stopped to think about those dreams and I realized how much my music and my desire to make movies had crept into what I was doing almost daily. I still play music nearly every week in our church. I work at the high school and middle school directing and editing as I help the students complete video announcements. 

Had I seen myself doing those tasks 30 years ago, I certainly would have said they were not what I had in mind. Where is the glamour and fame?! Still, I find it rewarding now. I don't think I gave up on the dream and settled for less. I'd say instead that I found my place. 

The dream was important, but there was more to it I didn't know. Finding that "more" and being grateful for it is the gift of seeing life as art.

Our lives are the ultimate work of art. They are a collaboration with chance, other people and (as some of us believe) with God. We can't see the end result or know fully what it is we should become. We get hints though, through our passions, talents and dreams. 

The trick is to keep working at it when it's tough and to know when to let go. Sometimes the specifics of our dreams just aren't meant to be.

Wherever we end up, whether close to or light-years away from our original dreams, it's important to marvel at the art of it and to be thankful for it. It's important to share the vision and the end result with others, so they can see art unfolding in their own lives.

I'm doing a challenge this month to post on one of my blogs every day. It's in preparation for my conference session, The Way of the Google Drive. Be sure to follow me on Twitter or on either blog to keep up with the "thoughts and tools to inspire". 

Click here to see all the posts from this blog with the tag The Way of the Google Drive.

photo credit: Throwing 4 via photopin (license)

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