“If chaos is a work of art, then my heart is a masterpiece.” – D. Antoinette Foy
Some say that art imitates life and some say that life imitates art.
Allow me to paint a picture of a typical scene from my life.
I’m sitting at the dining room table with my 5-year-old and 2-year-old while my son completes his homework. My daughter has to do whatever my son is doing, so she is coloring too (or scribbling, rather).
It’s a battle to keep the crayons on the table, and a struggle to keep my daughter from scribbling on my son’s homework. Fighting and pushing ensue. It’s not a particularly enthralling piece of artwork yet (this scene, as well as my kids’ drawings).
But then it changes.
My daughter holds up her picture and says, “I love my fam-ee,” and love swells up and washes over me.
I respond, “I love my family SO MUCH.”
My son nestles his head into me and says, “Raise your hand if you love your mom.”
Both kids raise their hands and I want to freeze this moment on the canvas. It’s pure joy out of nowhere in an everyday moment.
After my son finishes his homework, we move to the kitchen. I have to bake cookies for my son’s holiday party. Cue daunting music.
I’m surprisingly calm about the undertaking because do I have a choice?
Sifting five cups of flour alone takes a good 20 minutes. Who’s having fun?
My daughter is, while she pulls items out from the spice drawer and manages to screw the lid off of the chili powder of all things. Of course it’s the chili powder. Well, maybe that will teach her.
Apparently not, because now she’s licking vegetable shortening off of the countertop.
The kids constantly fight over one chair to sit on even though there are two chairs available.
I’d compare the noise and distraction level during the process to an attempt to take the SATs at a KISS concert. This is probably because baking sadly requires for me that level of concentration.
I almost manage to get through the ordeal without losing it, emphasis on the almost.
When the noise inside my head combines with the noise from my daughter whining to have fruit snacks and the noise of my son asking how to spell the fifth word in a row, angry energy escapes when I yell, “That’s it!! I’m done!! I’m turning on the television!!”
There it is, rage splattered all over my painting. Sometimes I wish I could paint over a scene, but there’s no use in denying it. This is my life.
I take the fruit snacks out of my daughter’s hand and she throws a tantrum. On goes the television, along with my mommy guilt for yelling.
I love using the analogy that every person’s life is a work of art.
Just like a painting, we are creating moments on the canvas of our lives that are fluid and ever-evolving.
You might not see much in the above scene of my life, but when I take a step back to look at the canvas, I see love and rage, joy and sorrow, and laughter and tears. It’s messy and beautiful and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s priceless.
Stress arises when the picture we’ve painted in our head about how life should unfold doesn’t match the picture on the canvas, an easy trap to fall into.
Sometimes we can’t see the beauty of the picture right in front of us because our mind is thinking ahead to what the finished product should look like.
Other times we get hung up on a mistake not realizing that mistakes can bring life to our painting by waking us up and redirecting our efforts.
In our fame/power/follower obsessed culture, it’s easy to question whether the painting of our life is unique or special enough when we look externally for validation. We sometimes forget that every single painting is special by design.
It’s scary when you’re painting and you’re not quite sure what the finished product will look like, particularly when your painting looks and feels like an abstract mess. I’ve had moments when I feel paralyzed, not even sure what my next stroke should be.
In moments like this, I ask my own creator, the original Artist, to place His hand over my hand on the brush. I ask Him what He would have me paint, what direction I should go in, what masterpiece we can create together.
Some say that art imitates life and some say that life imitates art. I say the line blurs between art and life because every one of us is shaping the creation of a lifetime: ourselves.
Isn’t it a sight to see?