Wednesday, July 29, 2009

\ˌi-ni-ˈlək-tə-bəl\ impossible to avoid or evade.

“On the human imagination events produce the effects of time.”
James Fenimore Cooper, The Deerslayer, opening line

“We are so little reconciled to time that we are even astonished at it. “How he’s grown!” we exclaim, “How time flies!” as though the universal form of our experience were again and again a novelty. It is as strange as if a fish were repeatedly surprised at the wetness of water.”

C.S. Lewis, Second Meanings in the Psalms

I just received a book in the mail from someone I have not seen in years- a beautiful copy of The Deerslayer, illustrated by N.C. Wyeth. Immediately, I could see the giver’s face in my mind and hear bits of the last conversation we had. Time is strange business. I can return to a day from my childhood without leaving my chair. I can ‘foresee’ today, before it unfolds, spending time in planning and preparation. We explain time with expressions and ‘isms, like- “Time is money!” or, “I can’t afford to spend any more time on that!” (especially valid if you’ve ever ‘spent’ time in a court of law and decided to argue with the Judge). How about- “Time flies when you’re having fun!” or, the opposite, “I spent a week in that town one night!” There is time’s elusive nature- “I can never find time to do that!” And yet, for humans, time is ineluctable. Job cried, “Since his (man’s) days are determined, the number of his months is with Thee, and his limits Thou hast set so that he cannot pass.”

Being unemployed for an extended period gives a fellow opportunities to reflect; time to think about where time is being allotted. Jesus said, “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” When I was younger I believed that time was an enemy- a deadly foe who would one day overtake me. Having passed the half-century mark, I see time as a gift- a gift I want to be a better steward of. Of course, as an artist, I continue to struggle with priority and validity- ‘Shouldn’t I be doing something worthwhile?’ (i.e., something that puts bread on the table), and the wrestling match between guilt and excuses begins another round. The making of art, in some respects, is as great a mystery to me as the making of humans by an all-sufficient, all-knowing God. Why bother? I can’t fully explain it. In fact, I remember something James Thurber said, and smile. He said, “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” And so, as a struggling artist, here are a few of the questions I ponder-
“Who is my audience?”
“What are my goals?”
“How much do I charge? Should I always charge?”
“Where do I see the art landing?”
(Is the final destination the wall of a home or museum, a book or the internet, or, should I cast the art on the surface of the waters, as Solomon suggests?)

This morning I read- “Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you.” Hosea 10:12

No comments:

Post a Comment