Today’s Kintsugi of the Soul* takes you to a short video that discussed the healing potential of art, especially as it relates to mourning, grief and lament. You can find that here. The poem “Talking to Grief” by Denise Levertov that is read at the 2:20+ minute mark is a BEaUtiful example of examining grief through the lens of art as an avenue towards healing:
Talking to Grief by Denise Levertov
Ah, Grief, I should not treat you
like a homeless dog
who comes to the back door
for a crust, for a meatless bone.
I should trust you.
I should coax you
into the house and give you
your own corner,
a worn mat to lie on,
your own water dish.
You think I don’t know you’ve been living
under my porch.
You long for your real place to be readied
before winter comes. You need
your collar and tag. You need
the right to warn off intruders,
my house your own
and me your person
my own dog.
Originally found at: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/levertov/onlinepoems.htm
Wilderness to Water by Tom Graffagnino is a book that travels through grief to grace by way of the author’s artwork, photographs, poetry, and writings.
According to reviewer Kevin Moss, the book is divided in two:
“The book is split essentially into two halves: ‘Wilderness’ is a monochrome exploration of life’s tough times, explored through sketches, poems and a very thoughtful connecting narrative. Tom’s own wilderness experiences clearly prompt and influence the text, but they are never pushed at the reader. The second half, ‘Water’, is based around colour photography but maintains the poetry and narrative structure, to focus on the ways in which God breaks into our lives, even at the lowest points, to refresh, strengthen and ultimately bring us new life. The two metaphors of wilderness and water are very apt as a description of human experience.”
As a Christian artist or creative, it is important to consider the redemptive value of your work. When viewed from a worldly perspective, we think of art in terms of monetary value—have we sold original pieces, prints, copies, songs, albums, scripts, . . . ? And we limit the value of our work to units sold. However, when we open ourselves as creatives to a heavenly view of value, we come to realize a whole new commodity. Are we changing lives, healing hearts, revealing beauty, seeking justice, claiming hearts for Our Creator? We begin to realize that there is a greater redemptive value to our work.
I am in the very beginning stages of writing my next book – about the healing journey of the artist and the artist as healer. This post and artwork touches on how God heals through the artistic process. It’s beautiful!
Unless a Grain of Wheat Falls; 2014; 29″ x 21″; watercolor.
There was a time in my life when I was stunned into silence. I unexpectedly received news of harm done to someone I love, two days later met the person who caused the harm face-to-face, and then several days after that received medical confirmation for my loved one of resulting lifelong disability.
It was too much, too fast. I shut down. People who cared deeply about me surrounded me, yet knew nothing of what was happening, or only bits and pieces. Grief penetrated like an arrow so deeply buried that even the shaft disappeared into the aching flesh of my heart. I stopped writing, and I stopped verbalizing anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary for some time after.
I understood why sometimes children cope with trauma by refusing to speak. For some things, there are no words. Painting, however, over the…
As you read, imagine the scene below as part of a larger drama unfolding. Think of the setting (Ancient Israel; very early in the morning at sunrise; Springtime, chill still in the air), the plot (Mary finds tomb empty; brings Peter and John to investigate; they find it as she reported; the body of Jesus is missing), the characters (Mary Magdalene, angels, Jesus) and the dialogue (try to hear it as you read).
Mary was standing outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying.
“Dear woman, why are you crying?” they asked.
“Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have put him.”
She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him.
“Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener she said, “Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
“Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” which means “Teacher”.
John 20:11-16, NLT
Now, let’s understand the implications of this drama:
Jesus appeared first to a woman. In a world, time and culture dominated by men—a woman. Not Peter, the Rock upon which the future church would be built. Not John, the disciple Jesus loved. But Mary Magdalene, a woman he had healed, rescuing her from a slew of demons that had held her hostage until Jesus touched her and set her free.
Around the time my best friend Lynn died from an unexpected and very aggressive form of cancer, I opened my fortune cookie to find this inside:
“Faith is knowing there is an ocean when you can only see the stream.”
At this juncture in my life I could only see the stream, and it was very small, merely a trickle. There was certainly no ocean in sight. Kim (our other best friend) and I had just returned from a grueling trip to the National Institutes of Health where we had been punched in the face with the words, “There is nothing else we can do,” and had worked with her father to get her Angel Flighted home so she could pass her final days surrounded by her loved ones. Yes, I did know there was an ocean, but it was far, far away, and the stream I saw was oh so small.