We come to a point in life during which we begin to define ourselves by our actions. I paint, therefore I am an artist. But, I believe this is a misguided way to view our roles in the world. Yes, our actions are the meat and potatoes of our day and they provide a way of recognizing who we are. But, sometimes, even in the absence of activity, one has not lost the identity that those activities expressed. For example, in my poor college life, I did not have any paints for years! I’ve since rectified the problem, but it was never really about all that. I didn’t paint, yet I was still an artist.
How? Well, I was an artist because of the way I looked at the world. Because I would see something warped and reflected on the surface of polished metal or a pond and would go about piecing the colors and shapes in my head that I would have used on the page. I saw art in a strong jawline or bemused eyebrow. I saw a masterpiece in nature and sought beauty in my surroundings because mere aesthetics brought me joy. I was an artist because of how I related to the aspects of my daily life, something the sociologists lovingly call “symbolic interactionism.”
For those of you who have not yet heard, the service of 10:31 Life Ministries is coming to the end of a chapter. It has flipped a final page. As it does so, I know that all of us those involved with this ministry will miss its presence in our lives. For me, it was always a reminder to put pen to paper in an effort to capture those moments, so pregnant with meaning, that would otherwise go racing by uncatalogued and unappreciated. It was a way of joining in fellowship with the founder, light-years away in some strange land called Kansas, and keeping my readers updated on the shenanigans and ponderings of my life. I won’t say I was witty or wise, but I enjoyed myself immensely. I’m sorry to be going.
Yet, I have to remember that we are no less members of this ministry on its last day than we were on the first. We still carry the vision of ministry, service, and faith in our worldviews even though we will no longer be making our happy monthly installments. My time with 10:31 gave me a deeper appreciation for using prose as a means of spreading a message of goofy, endearing fascination with the world and all of God’s wonders spread to every niche and corner. Three years after I began writing here, I’ll finish by saying that I may never really know how to say goodbye to something or someone I treasure. But, the biggest compliment we can give our time together is the understanding that it has changed us for the better. I may not have my paintbrush in hand daily, but my time with you has made me see the world in vivid, beautiful colors.