My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4)
I was having a conversation with my friendly neighborhood fireman the other day. Somehow we began discussing the pain of our pasts and how life creates us and changes us and molds us into something so completely different than what we ever thought we would be.
I shared with him one of my dreams. To create trash art. I LOVE trash art because I think it depicts humanity so well. Here are a few of my favorite works of art (and why they are my favorites.) I do not know who the artists are, so if someone could let me know, I will give them full credit.
This first trash sculpture is AMAZING to me. The concept that if you were to just look at the surface, you just see a great, big ol’ pile of trash. BUT, if you look through that surface pile of junk, you see the shadow of something greater. You see connection. You see relaxation. You find a sense of peace. You find the beauty from looking at the right angle. And isn’t every person just like that? No matter your history, no matter the hurt… if you look closely enough, you can find a beauty that they brought to your life. Even if they were a “sandpaper person” (as I like to call difficult people), there is a high probability that they sanded a few of the rough edges off of you. When someone looks like trash and you just want to throw them away, be sure to look in the shadows and discover the beauty that is lurking there.
Anyone who grew up with me knows I grew up drawing and painting and dreaming of horses. I still love them to this day. The fierceness, the pride, the beauty, the loyalty and the freedom that they exhibit inspires me regularly. Therefore, it should be no surprise that this is another trash art sculpture that speaks to me tremendously.
This one is a bit more personal. It doesn’t reveal other people’s trash to me. It bellows out the glories of my own. It shows this incredible, wild, skeletal, side of trash. It reveals how the pain and the hurt, the difficult and dark places can break us down and set us free. We don’t have to be “all together” to be beautiful! We are beautiful in our current form, broken and made of the challenges we have faced and overcome. It’s amazing to think of the beautiful people in this world and all the incredible stories we might hear, if we can just allow people to show the free-flowing openness and fierce desire that has created who they are, at the very moment we connect with them.
This last one. Oh, the gloriousness! Oh the freedom! Oh the beauty! Watching her dance makes my heart sing! Sensing the power of her form inspires me to be better. Seeing the carefree way that she moves with the wind of life makes me realize that sometimes it’s better to “go with the flow”. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks, she is not made of of only “sugar and spice, and everything nice.” She has a little bit of this story, a little pain, a little heartbreak, she was thrown into an ocean once, someone didn’t find that this part was valuable, someone ripped this apart and tossed it away. But through all of that, when all those painful, trashed parts of her came together, she became a stunning masterpiece, a wonderfully dimensional character with stories to tell of the places she has been and the beautiful life she has led. Each “wreck”, each time something did not go as planned, each time something hurt… That is where this wonderful creature came from.
And aren’t we all built on those things? Don’t we all have little pieces of ourselves that someone disregarded, disrespected, or threw away. Haven’t we all felt the pain of being ripped apart and tossed out to sea to fend for ourselves? Aren’t we just a sum total of all of our experiences and our pain and our joys and the entirety of our past? And isn’t that just unbelievably gorgeous???
Anyway, that conversation led me to write a poem (which has only happened twice before).
My life is so different from the way I thought it’d be.
There’s so many things that have created me.
The colors and the lights, they overflow.
A lovely, yet revealing, mystery
And I am always at a loss for words.
Because this life is so much more than I deserve.
The dreams I have are stirring in my soul.
And finally I know.
When I face my fears and cherish my heart too
Only then will I be home.
Oh, I am always at a loss for words.
When I realize life is so much more than I deserve.
And when I feel I can no longer stand.
My faith is where I land.
And when the years, they steal my youth away.
Those will truly be my glory days.
When I look at the perfection of my life.
It was borne to me from pain and fear and strife.
And that is truly what creates this incredible, beautiful life.