5th September 2011
Art; creativity; industry; pieces; youth; passion; destiny
A young treasured friend in my life, having completed her pre-med studies in Edinburgh with excellent results is busy preparing for acceptance in her studies as a surgeon. She was asked the other day, why would she want to be a surgeon. How she answered this question would essentially determine whether she becomes part of the small handful of invited applicants among the many who ask to be accepted into the college of surgeons. Her reply was simply that to her, surgery is the ultimate form of art – she could think of no more creative thing to do than to piece together the human body.
John Ruskin, the 19th century British art critic and writer, in his Lectures on Art, wrote, “Life without industry is guilt, and industry without art is brutality”.
This quote has particularly struck me as I have contemplated the mechanics of what it takes to prepare people for their destinies.
Here is a thought: If we see our children doing three things, first, working hard, and second, doing what they love. Third, working in their primary gift, we would surely think ourselves exceedingly blessed.
What makes the hours and years tedious is not the hours and hours of sacrificial application that a person does to achieve success in their work, but the awful sense that they are not doing what they love. By contrast, those who find what they love, care not if it achieves monetary success, or public acceptance, but only that their craft; their love; their talent; their jealous affection for what they do, would be given life; would be formed; would be taken to the point of their utmost ability. This includes self-doubt, and fear of failure. This involves true grit as they stay bent over their tool or operating tables; their desks; their instruments; their easels; their pages, sometimes for months; years or even decades. What keeps them going in the most difficult moments is the knowledge that if they do not do what they were gifted to do, that something would be missing. They do not need to rediscover their gift every day, or be convinced of it – they know it even in its unformed state. They have faith in it above all else. This is passion. A person, who finds their passion, finds the industry to apply it.
As parents we should be careful not to try to mould our children into our past filters of what success is. It takes courage to say, “I do not know, what do you think?” It takes much more courage to say, “Look not for what you earn, ahead of what you yearn for!”
Again as parents, we see! Perhaps however also, we should ask God to help us to see them as he sees!
From the time my young friend was small, she would try to meticulously draw a hundred pictures carefully into one square inch. Minutiae fascinated her, and still does, only now it has been ‘cultivated’, and we will all soon see the fuller fruit of her passion. Less careful parenting may have scoffed at such youthful, and seemingly pointless industry, but ‘careful eyes’ jealously watch over such things, for right there is artistry; excellence, and destiny in the making!
My precious youngest child, who is presently completing an Arts degree in Trinity Western University, BC, would sit for hours in the car in the dark drawing her pictures, as we travelled long distances at night. She would periodically say to me, “Daddy, can you switch the light on for a moment, I want to see what I have drawn”.
With pride today, we should think of what were we facilitating in her by not imposing our view of her efforts on her?
In October 1999, my father passed into heaven as a believer. My visit to the island of Mauritius where I was born, and where he lived, was punctuated by a cataclysmic moment – As I scrimmaged through his desk I stumbled on a small black notebook where he had written his last words in French the day before his death. They were, “we discover always too late that the marvel is in each and every moment”!
These words have deeply affected my life, and compelled me to articulate more clearly and with greater passion the gifts given to me.
In closing, my thoughts go to our children who will shape the future. May we each actively engage the process where they will find their various passions! I am reminded of three striking words spoken by William Blake written in “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”. He said, “EXUBERANCE IS BEAUTY”
Keep on. Loys
PS: Tarryn and Olivia, I love you. This ‘piece’ is dedicated to your love of your craft!