In the Church – a part of my art journey

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Why the Church Needs Artists

A good friend of mine shared this brief article with me and it is worth a read. I have contemplating the words all week, and not just his words but the voice of the writer! There is such heart and longing that resonates with something I’ve struggled to articulate for YEARS.

Most people think I’m a great manager. I get lots of complements on my administrative “gifting” and have ended up in leadership positions since I was a child. I’m not saying I did everything right or was the best person, heavens no. Anyone in a spot light knows or learns how easy it is to make a mess instead of organize. This is just a fact about myself, and I even like it!  But there is another side to me that I know has been missed.  It feel it when I put out new ideas in church groups or business teams. I fight it when I’m told things like “that’s not how we do it” or when someone thinks I’m wrong and doesn’t say it, they just don’t support the new project.  It cuts to my heart when I get the “look” from a
Pastor or authority figure that says, “what am I going to do with you you just won’t fit in”.  It’s there but I’ve never been able to put it into words.

I’m an artist.

These quotes stood out to me-

Artists honor the past without being bound by it. They propel us into the future by helping us see it. Even if we’re not ready for it yet.”

“Artists don’t give us what we want. They show us something we didn’t even know we needed.”

“Artists don’t debate what style of music (or teaching, preaching and lighting) is best. They give us new ways of doing it.”

Yes yes yes! These are the words!  I can instantly give half a dozen stories where I these quotes articulate exactly what I was feeling and fighting with. They have stayed with me because I have never yet been able to say WHY it bothered me so much. Why, when I’d get some kind of honor for administration I’d want to scream, This Isn’t Me!!!! And why I feel hurt and misunderstood.

Am I alone? I don’t think so. I’m a teacher! I’ve met dozens of people, old and young, who have had their creativity ignored, crushed or buried and only need someone to come say “We want you! We want how you think. We think that idea is crazy but we’ll give it everything we’ve got because we love you!” What we’ll be difficult now is that so many beautiful artists have buried themselves, like me, and may not even know why they just aren’t content. (Don’t get all philosophical here, God saying we should be content in every season in life does NOT include the ones we wrongly force upon ourselves or the ones in which others silence us and keep us restrained. Missionaries don’t stop preaching in prison do they?)

I’m one of the fortunate few who also can be administrative and so I’ve managed to painstakingly carve out an almost me-shaped relief where I can still be in community with churches and ministries, but it’s so hard. And most do not try. Oh, how the church would grow, especially in this country, if we learned to create space for these crazy artistic people, and every day in this new world I’m learning the words we need to help teach the church how to do that. But this post is really about me. I’ve got to break free and live this God given part of who I am again or I will suffocate and abandon the church body completely.  God put this in my hands today so I could change, the healing and rest that still needs to come I’m sure will be here shortly.

Shall we commemorate this revelation with a song?

I HOPE you dance!!!

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Recovery – a part of my art journey

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No fantastic new photo here today, but
one that is very meaningful.  These are my feet.  For the first time since I was 14 years old I can turnout easily with no pain to almost 90 degrees.  I was in a number of car wrecks growing up, one of which put me in the hospital.  By the time I fell in love with dance I was already destined for back pain and issues but fought it every day causing more issues in my ignorance of how to deal with the ones I had.  My back got weaker and weaker and my hips tighter.  Muscle strains and pulls were too common and I had a new ankle injury almost every month and even broke my foot.  Eventually I could hardly dance. It took 45 minutes before my body would loosen up to really move in class and performance lacked endurance and quality.  The more I struggled the more I pulled back from the dance world, taking fewer and fewer classes, turning down offers from schools and socializing less.  I turned to academics and began to teach, eventually pursuing undergrad studies both Bible and Elementary Education, and it was in school that I met and married my wonderful husband who had a lot of work ahead of him.

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It was while I continued to try to teach our first year of marriage that my back problems became acute.  He had to carry me up and down the stairs of our second floor apartment. Sometimes I couldn’t get in or out of the car without help, or even get dressed.  My muscles were frozen through my back and legs and massage relieving pain but not fixing the problem.  A physical therapist diagnosed me with myofascial pain syndrome.  He was partially right, and I wish now that I had been living in a place that had more experience treating dance injuries.  The reason the fascia in my legs was aggravated and inflamed was because I had almost blown a disc in my lower back.  We didn’t find that out for almost two more years.

God is so gracious.  I was so close to breaking my back completely and with the help of a good friend a team of support, which my husband spearheaded, I began to recover!  I could bend again, pick up my children. I even started cooking again!  Dancing took longer but I held on 🙂  I was last year that I really started to move again and to gradually rebuild my body, but my technique had suffered terribly and the weak muscles which had begun my problems as a teenager were still underdeveloped or inactive.  I kept on dancing but I’ve been depressed and thinking I would never really be able to perform at peak level again. And then, just two weeks ago I started reading and studying work by a dance physiotherapist in Australia who helped me understand what I’ve been doing wrong, which muscles NOT to use, which muscles needed my help! and today I had my first breakthrough 🙂  image

Easy, pain free turnout!!!

For the first time in years I really feel like someday soon I’ll be able to create and perform all of the pieces I’ve created in my journals, to see those God given stories come to life.  And I feel like that feeling isn’t going to go away this time.